It’s a lot tougher to crash a celebrity party or high profile event nowadays. In the post 9-11 days of high-tech security, simply blustering your way past the doorman with a phony pass and a confident attitude will rarely work. The world has just become a whole lot less tolerant of someone trying to sneak in without an invite.
People have even been prosecuted for breaching security at the Super Bowl, and some of Hollywood’s biggest award shows.
Yet they continue to try. And learn. Books have been written on the best ways to crash a celebrity party. You can even take a course in the art of crashing a party or sporting event.
Still, the best way to learn is from the experts. The best party crashers tend to be sneaky, confident and fearless in their efforts to go where no uninvited guest has gone before. These are the fifteen most notorious, impressive party crashers who’ve blagged their way through some of the world’s most elite doors.
15. Tareq and Michaele Salahi (The White House Crashers)
In 2009, these Washington socialites attended a White House state dinner for the Indian Prime Minister… Without a ticket. They were filmed smiling alongside numerous dignitaries including President Obama.
Turns out, these gatecrashers had celebrity in mind. Their preparations for the crash were even filmed and later used on The Real Housewives of D.C. Although the camera crew wasn’t allowed in, the couple got past two checkpoints without incident. Security later claimed they let the couple in because ‘they looked the part’. Confidence is always key to a party crash.
The security breach created a firestorm in Washington, and it was ignited by the Salahis’ own public confessions of their exploits to the press. The pair were forced to appear before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee. They pled the Fifth.
Don’t expect any more gate crashing from the couple, though; they have since divorced.
14. Queen Elizabeth (Wedding Crasher)
Who knew the Queen was into photobombing?
John and Francis Canning were aware they would be sharing their 2012 wedding day with someone special. Their ceremony at Manchester Town Hall just happened to fall on a day that Queen Elizabeth would be having a luncheon down the hallway with several local volunteers.
Still, the married couple-to-be never suspected that Queen and Prince Philip would just show up at their wedding and join a receiving line to wish them well. “Hello John. Hello Francis,” the Queen said by way of introduction, before posing for photos with the blushing bride.
13. Thamsanqa Jantjie (The Sign Guy Crasher)
It remains cloudy whether Jantjie was a true crasher when he mounted the stage at Johannesburg’s Nelson Mandela Memorial in 2013. But for several hours, Jantjie was televised across the world using sign language to ‘interpret’ the speeches of world leaders.
Except he didn’t really use sign language. The deaf community termed what he did as ‘gibberish’, employing made-up signs and words like ‘prawns’ and ‘rocking horses’ in a nonsensical way.
But was it truly some crasher prank? Maybe not. Jantjie later claimed to have suffered a schizophrenic episode on stage, and says that he had been signing at official events for years. Investigators weren’t so sure about that.
A year later, it’s still something of a bizarre mystery. Jantjie is currently attempting a career as an actor and spokesperson, with a commercial gig already on his resume.
12. James Miller (Fan Man)
Everybody remembers that Evander Holyfield/Riddick Bowe fight of 1993. Yet few remember who actually won.
What people remember is Fan Man, that paraglider who landed on the edge of the ring in the seventh round. Entangled in the lights above, Fan Man (AKA James Miller) was pummeled unconscious by the crowd and security people. His paraglider was also torn to bits.
Though he was sent to hospital and arrested, it was not Fan Man’s last crash. The expert paraglider circled a Raiders/Bronco football game a few weeks later but did not land.
He also landed on the field of an Arsenal football game, a stunt that led to a week in jail. His most daring stunt, however, occurred in 1994 when he landed on the roof of Buckingham Palace. The Royals were not amused.
11. Dion Rich (Super Bowl Crasher)
San Diego nightclub owner Dion Rich just loves to crash. Whether it’s a celebrity party or just a private gathering of strangers, he’s always up for the challenge. But Rich is never satisfied with just getting into an event uninvited – he wants to become a big part of the whole thing.
Heck, he didn’t just sneak into the Super Bowl (which he did an astounding 35 times). He got down on the field (22 times), taking part in the trophy presentations and the after parties. On one occasion, he helped carry winning coach Tom Landry triumphantly off the field.
To get into the big game, he uses a variety of techniques including disguising himself as an NFL official and sneaking onto a team bus.
Rich has even written a book on his exploits as the self-proclaimed World’s Greatest Gate Crasher. Other events Dion has successfully crashed include The Academy Awards, the Emmys, and the Playboy Club.
10. David Hampton (The Six Degrees Crasher)
Hampton’s life of false identities and con games began as a gate crash in 1983. Refused entry into New York’s Studio 54, he claimed to be the son of actor Sidney Poitier. He not only got in, but he was treated like a VIP.
What followed were years of posing as Poitier. This allowed Hampton access to numerous private affairs and granted him the trust and friendship of various rich Manhattanites and actors like Melanie Griffith and Gary Sinise. He even slept at their houses.
He was eventually caught, fined and banned from New York. But his scamming ways continued for the rest of his life. John Guare’s play (and film) Six Degrees of Separation was based on Hampton’s life.
9. Aaron Barschak (The Princely Crasher)
The security at Windsor Castle really blew it with this crash. You’d figure a guy wearing a pink dress, a false beard, and a turban might send up a few red flags. But nope.
Barschak, who calls himself a ‘comedy terrorist’, managed to crash Prince Harry’s 21st birthday party in 2003. It was an event attended by no less than the Queen (among other royals).
But it wasn’t as though Barschak slipped in. Known for his media crashing, the comic posed for photographers outside, then climbed a tree, jumped onto a wall and then a terrace. Confronted by police at this point, he somehow convinced them he was a party goer, and was allowed to enter.
It wasn’t until he rushed the stage and kissed Harry on both cheeks that he finally got arrested. Needless to say, a thorough police investigation followed the massive security breach.
8. Barry Bremen (The Great Imposter)
From 1979 till 1986, Bremen was sports’ great imposter, infiltrating the courts and fields of play on many, many occasions. He twice disguised himself as an NBA star to shoot baskets during warm ups at the NBC All Star Game. He shagged flies dressed as a Yankee at another all star game. He also played several rounds of practice golf at the U.S. Open.
Beyond impersonating athletes, he has also made it to the big show as a major league ump, a Super Bowl line judge, and as an NHL ref.
But which of his stunts was his greatest? It’s debatable. At the 1985 Emmy Awards, he accepted an award for an absent Betty Thomas (who was actually there). And at a 1979 Dallas Cowboy game, he dressed himself as a cheerleader and managed one cheer with the other gals before being tackled by security.
7. ‘Paz’ (The Cake Crasher)
In the era of social media, party crashers like to brag about their latest accomplishments. A Hollywood musician who listed himself only as ‘Paz’ took to Facebook one morning after awaking from a hangover to discover a three-tiered cake at his bedside.
“I woke up this morning with a $3200 cake in my living room,” he explained to his followers. “It’s big. It’s red. It says Paris. And it’s bleeping delicious.”
Turns out, Paz had crashed Paris Hilton’s 30th birthday party, a VIP event in Hollywood. After enjoying several free drinks, a plan emerged. Paz and a friend decided to steal Paris’ as-yet-untouched birthday cake. And they managed to do it, though they had to talk their way by security.
Apparently filled with regret the next morning (though not too shy to take his story to social media), Paz dropped off the cake at an LA homeless shelter where it was enjoyed by all.
6. Bill Murray (The Photobomber)
In this era of celebrity photobombs, one attention-seeking star stands out – Bill Murray. Yes, Lady Gaga and Serena Williams like to crash weddings and parties. But nobody has done it with more consistency and style than comic Murray.
He’s been known to join strangers in song at Karaoke bars and step in as a bartender or ticket taker at a baseball game. Last spring in Charleston, North Carolina – where Murray has a home – an engaged couple were posing for photos when they were interrupted by Murray. The actor was lifting his shirt up to expose his belly in an attempt to make them laugh. It worked, and Murray dutifully posed for photos with the couple later.
That same month, Murray crashed a bachelor party, launching into a speech. “You know how they say that funerals are for the dead, not the living. Well, bachelor parties aren’t for the groom. They’re for the unmarried,” he told the appreciative partiers.
5. Scott Weiss (The Hollywood Crasher)
In 2007-08, Weiss accomplished the rare feat of crashing all the big Hollywood industry award shows; the Emmys, Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and the Oscars. At only one, The Globes, was he nabbed by security.
Weiss is a serial party crasher who first breached Oscar security in 1992. He used fake badges and unsecured entrances to his advantage.
Weiss says the key to a successful crash is the human element. No matter how high-tech security is, a distracted doorman can still make a crucial mistake. Also, if you walk like you know where you are going, then few will stop you. Act like you belong.
Weiss chronicled his exploits in the documentary Crasher.
4. Charlotte Laws (Media Crasher)
In her teens and early 20s, this beautiful actress and writer crashed a lot of celebrity parties. Her book, ‘Meet The Stars’, chronicled how an average person can make it in Hollywood (hint: it involves crashing a lot of parties).
Laws claims to have attended an event featuring President Reagan without a ticket. The trick was befriending a White House official, who then convinced security to let her pass. And at a John Kerry fundraiser in 2004, she just walked in after being scanned for weapons. Nobody asked for a ticket. Later that night, she hobnobbed with the likes of Kerry, Robert De Niro and Barbra Streisand at a special VIP after party.
3. Remi Gaillard (Prankster Crasher)
This French comedian has made a career of pulling pranks on people in public and filming it for YouTube. The pranks are based on the tried and tested hidden camera gag, with Gaillard acting outrageously towards unsuspecting passersby. His YouTube success – he claims over a billion and a half views – has even led to a feature film.
But Gaillard’s rise to prankster fame can be traced back to several gatecrashing stunts. He dressed himself in bike gear and passed himself off as a competitor at the 2001 Tour de France. And at the 2002 Coupe de France, he disguised himself as a soccer player and joined the celebrations on the field, even meeting the French prime minister before the ruse was revealed.
2. Steve Kaplan (Shaggy Crasher)
New York is the epicenter for party crashing. With so many openings, premieres, and promotional events, a good gatecrasher can fill up on finger food and walk out with a gift bag almost every day of the week. And with the advent of the digital age, any guy or gal with a blog can wrangle an invite.
One of the most notorious (according to the New York papers) is Steve ‘Shaggy’ Kaplan, who calls himself the ‘gold standard’ of party crashers. With his recognizable mane of hair, it’s hardly as if Kaplan is flying under the radar. Yet he continues to get into fashion events, wine tastings, and restaurant openings throughout the last decade.
His usual strategy is the backdoor entrance. Inside he might try to pass himself off as a journalist or, in the case of a sporting event, a player rep. In the gate crasher game, Kaplan is known as a big eater – so don’t get between him and the buffet table.
1. Fred Karger (Political Crasher)
The openly gay former Republican consultant (and Presidential candidate) has proudly made a political career out of going where he wasn’t invited. He attended no less than 8 Republican conventions, walking the delegate floor without a badge. His advice to would-be crashers is simply to ‘look appropriate and act appropriate’. That kind of works as life advice as well.
But Karger hasn’t confined his crashing just to politics. He proudly talks about how he managed to crash two Oscar ceremonies (including one where he shook Charlie Chaplin’s hand). He even brought a fake Oscar to a Vanity Fair after party in 2007, claiming he’d just won it for special effects. It worked, though he later dropped the fake to the screams of partygoers.