How many times have you seen a celebrity’s death report on television or the Internet and thought to yourself, “I thought he (or she) was already dead!”? Or maybe you’ve told a friend or family member that a certain celebrity is dead, only to find out he or she is still alive? How do you think that feels – to be a celebrity that’s so low on the celebrity hierarchy totem pole, people don’t even know you’re alive? Sometimes, of course, rumors like this start on the Internet and just blossom inexplicably. These types of rumors can even jump-start a stalled career (just look at Betty White!) Usually, though, it’s a sad state of affairs if you’re popular for being dead but you’re not.
Current age: 52
A few years ago, a rumor surfaced on the Internet that comedian Sinbad (otherwise known as David Adkins) had died. His Wikipedia entry was modified to reflect his death. Apparently someone had edited it to say that he had died of a heart attack. Sinbad started receiving telephone calls and emails from family and friends, notifying him of the rumor, and finally announced to the Associated Press, “I’m alive!” Although, one wonders if he wishes he were dead, as he filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in December 2009 and put his $2.5 million home up for sale in February 2010.
Source: usa today
2. Betty White
Current age: 88
Ever since the “Today” show mistakenly reported her to be buried in 2009, 88 year-old Betty White has become a hot Hollywood item. A false Internet report was released in March 2010 reporting her death as well, saying it was from a mixture of drug abuse and foul play. White responded vehemently against the rumor, and is still enjoying notoriety among younger people. As the result of a successful Facebook campaign, White will host “Saturday Night Live” in May 2010.
3. Wilford Brimley
Current Age: 75
Known more for his Quaker Oats commercials than his stints on “The Waltons” or his role in “Cocoon,” Wilford Brimley is alive and well at 75. Fake obituaries have been published on the Internet falsely stating that he died many times over, even inspiring a website, WilfordBrimleyIsNotDead.tumblr.com. Now hawking Diabetes products for Liberty Medical, Brimley comes into most of our homes on a daily basis, proving that even when he does die, he’ll remain alive on celluloid.
4. Jaleel White
Current age: 33
Former “Family Matters” star best known for the character Steve Urkel, Jaleel White supposedly committed suicide in 2007, according to many news and Internet reports. Not true. White, now 33, publicly declared his life status on his website following these reports. He continues to act on television with guest roles on shows such as “Boston Legal” and “Psych,” and is also the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog in games and on T.V., but will be forever remembered as nerdy Urkel, even after his death.
5. Larry Wilcox
Current age: 62
Once known as one-half of the “C.H.I.P.S.” duo, Larry Wilcox seemingly disappeared from the television business a long time ago. This led many to the false conclusion that he had died. The 62-year-old Wilcox says he still keeps in touch with the other half of that duo, Erik Estrada (who has been all over T.V lately). Maybe Wilcox should take a cue from Estrada and take bit parts playing himself in shows. Then again, would anyone know who he was playing?
6. Abe Vigoda
Current age: 89
In 1982, “People” magazine falsely declared actor Abe Vigoda to be dead. He took their mistake in stride, even posing with a coffin for the magazine later. Five years later, another news reporter erroneously reported him dead. Since then, his fake death has become a running joke among comedians and on talk shows. Vigoda seems to like the attention being alive has given him, appearing on David Letterman’s and Conan O’Brien’s shows, among others. He’s made a career out of not being dead.
7. “Weird Al” Yankovic
Current age: 50
After a cartoon character on the T.V series “King of the Hill” said he was dead, rumors of singer/comedian“Weird Al” Yankovic’s death started swirling. Despite the fact that he has made some truly annoying songs (“My Bologna,” “Eat It,” and “White & Nerdy” come to mind) he, of course, remains alive. Fans are currently trying to get Yankovic a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, representing the true immortalization of a celebrity.
8. Bronson Pinchot
Current age: 50
Another 80’s television star who’s gone missing, Bronson Pinchot has been reported dead many times. In 2006 the spoof site “Uncyclopedia” reported Pinchot’s death from heart failure, citing riots in the streets and champagne toasts by people who had “always hated him and that stupid Balki character he played.” Pinchot, of course, is still alive, occasionally acting on television and providing the voice for characters such as the black Volkswagen beetle in the commercials. It’s a good thing he’s alive – what kind of legacy would that be to leave the world?
9. Keith Richards
Current age: 66
Perhaps because he looks half (or three-quarters) dead, erroneous reports of Keith Richard’s death abound each year. The notorious drug user is still alive and kicking, and has inspired a website, IsKeithRichardsDead.com, which lists his current status and age in years, days, hours, minutes and seconds. Of course, you might want to check that website to make sure, but at the time of this writing, Richards lives.
10. Larry Hagman
Current age: 79
Rumors began circulating in 2004 that actor Larry Hagman, who received a liver transplant in 1995 had died. He was hospitalized and part of his liver was removed, but he did not die. He announced in “TV Guide,” “I’m not dead.” He added, “I’m not retired. I’m simply out of work.” Hmmm… if you have to go to a national television magazine to announce that you’re still alive, think it’s a coincidence you’re not getting work?
Source: Larry Hagman