He was known around the world in the early s as the Naked Guy, the 6-footinch student who went to class and strolled around the University of California, Berkeley, campus wearing only shoes and a backpack. Clothes were a symbol of elitism and repression, and Luis Andrew Martinez planned to spend his life challenging the status quo. He died at 33 in the throes of schizophrenia, though stories about his death made only vague references to problems with mental illness. But in the five months since, the people who knew him best realized there was much to celebrate. They honored his short life at a public memorial on Sunday in Cupertino, the city where he was a star football player and wrestler, the city where he took his first nude walk and where his dreams to change the world were born. There was no sign of the troubled times to come when Martinez first made his mark as a child. At John F. They met on a class field trip to the opera and traded Eddie Murphy jokes to pass the time.
As an education reporter working from a basement office in Sproul Hall on the UC Berkeley campus in the fall of , I remember when "Naked Guy" began showing up for class wearing nothing but a G-string covering his private parts. Tall, lean, muscular and low-key, Luis Andrew Martinez , 20, became an overnight media sensation. The press aptly dubbed him Naked Guy and converged on campus to devour another only-in-Berkeley story. While the moniker that made Martinez famous is probably unavoidable, he may also be remembered as the man who forced law enforcement officials in Santa Clara County to address serious suicide attempts in a serious manner.
The last time I saw Andrew Martinez, he was sitting on Berkeley's grimy Telegraph Avenue wearing nothing but a backpack, sneakers and a baseball cap and holding a sign that read, "It's just a dick, man. It was just a dick -- attached to a guy with a gentle presence and magnetic smile who became known simply as the "Naked Guy" for his insistence on his right to be nude in public. That eventually got him expelled from the University of California, and prompted the ultra-liberal city of Berkeley to ban nudity.
Here is a look at the past. His au naturel strolls sparked a campus nude-in, several talk-show discussions and endless bad jokes. But his antics proved offensive to some students and employees and deeply embarrassing to the university. In November, the campus issued a ban on public nudity. The 6-foot-2 junior persisted in his exploits, however, and was suspended for two weeks in late November, pending a student conduct hearing.