19 celebrities who rose from the dead
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From Sir Paul McCartney to Tom Cruise and Beyoncé, false reports of celebrity deaths have often been dramatically overstated.
Numerous actors have even experienced multiple “deaths” on Twitter. SPYSCAPE takes a look at some of these instances:
The Beatles’ Abbey Road Album Cover Sir Paul McCartney (born 1942)
The iconic Beatles member, who wrote the theme song for the 1985 film Spies Like Us, was at the center of the “Paul is Dead” conspiracy theory in the 1960s.
Some speculated that an imposter had replaced him.
The album cover for Abbey Road fueled these rumors, as some fans interpreted it as a funeral procession with McCartney as the barefoot corpse and John Lennon as the priest.
McCartney repeatedly denied his death, stating in a BBC interview: “If the conclusion you reach is that I’m dead, then you’re wrong, because I’m alive and living in Scotland.”
Sean Connery (1930 – 2020)
To dispel death rumors, Connery appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman in 1993.
These rumors began after the death of Connery’s friend, retired Formula One World Champion James Hunt, was misreported as James Bond’s death.
The confusion spread to Japan, where reports of Texas governor John Connally’s death sounded like Sean Connery in Japanese. Connery said he had a lot of explaining to do worldwide.
Tom Cruise (born 1962)
In 2010, Cruise laughed off reports of his death in a fatal plumbing accident. He jokingly claimed he was a hologram before asking fans to spread the word that he was alive.
“I’m really alive. Did the internet get it wrong again?” he asked.
Matt Damon (born 1970)
Damon was surprised anyone believed the 2009 news of his death, which was written in a style reminiscent of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s lyrics.
His family took the news in stride, with Damon recalling his wife’s reaction: “All my wife said was, ‘Well, that’s weird.'”
George Clooney (born 1961)
Despite rumors of his death in a plane crash in Colorado and a fall from a cliff in New Zealand, Clooney remains alive.
When asked about his alleged death, he referred to Mark Twain’s famous quote.
Beyoncé Knowles (born 1981)
Twitter rumors of Beyoncé’s death surfaced in 2015 when a fake news site reported a fatal car accident featuring a fiery crash photo.
Another false story circulated in 2016, claiming she died from excessive bleeding caused by an earring injury.
Gene Hackman (born 1930)
The Conversation and French Connection actor learned of his “death” from an article titled “The Greatest Living American Actor at 85: Gene Hackman Is Gone But Still in Charge.”
The word “gone” was quickly replaced with “retired,” but not before Twitter users offered condolences and a Facebook page, “RIP Gene Hackman,” emerged requesting “likes.”
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (born 1972)
In 2014, a rumor spread that Johnson had fallen off New Zealand’s Kauri Cliffs while filming a stunt.
Johnson responded on social media, stating, “I would love to meet the person who is starting rumors of my death – to show them how a dead foot feels up their a**.”
James Earl Jones (born 1931)
Known for his roles as Darth Vader and the star of The Hunt for Red October, Jones was the subject of a parody website.
Both Facebook and Twitter circulated the false news, but it turned out Darth Vader’s death was only on-screen.
Russell Crowe (born 1964)
In 2010, a New York City radio station falsely reported that Crowe, the Gladiator and Body of Lies star, had died after falling off a mountain in Austria.
Crowe jokingly tweeted, “Unable to answer. Fell off a mountain in Austria, all over red rover. Don’t know how I got there, but the media are never wrong. G’Bye.”
Hilary Duff (born 1987)
Duff, the star of the spy comedy Agent Cody Banks, was rumored to have fallen off New Zealand’s Kauri Cliffs while visiting a luxury golf resort, despite being in Los Angeles at the time.
The same cliffs have allegedly claimed the lives of other celebrities, including Tom Cruise, Natalie Portman, Dwayne Johnson, Orlando Bloom, Tom Hanks, Jeff Goldblum, and Brad Pitt.
Brad Pitt (born 1963)
Death rumors about the Spy Game star have surfaced a few times, with one particularly viral report in 2016 claiming he had been shot.
Pitt released a statement saying he was alive, and the shooting story was revealed to be a hoax intended to steal readers’ data.
Kirk Douglas (1916 – 2020)
Legendary actor Kirk Douglas survived a helicopter crash and a stroke, but the media falsely reported his death twice.
Action News 3 still claims he died at age 100 (he lived to 103), and People magazine accidentally published his obituary in 2014 under the headline “DO NOT PUB.” At least Douglas knew he would be remembered.
Abraham ‘Abe’ Vigoda (1921 – 2016)
The Godfather actor “died” at least three times. The rumors began in 1982 when People referred to him as the “late” Abe Vigoda.
Vigoda responded in Variety by publishing a photo of himself reading People magazine in his coffin. A website, isabevigodadead.com, was created to keep track of his status.
Morgan Freeman (born 1937)
Freeman, co-star of the spy thriller The Sum of All Fears, was the target of a Facebook prank with the page “RIP Morgan Freeman.”
The actor responded, “I keep reading that I have died. I hope those stories are not true …”
Steven Seagal (born 1952)
The star of Shadow Men and Under Siege did not die when the “RIP Steven Seagal” Facebook page was posted in 2013 or after a rumored massive heart attack in 2015.
However, opinions vary on whether his career suffered after an incident in 2011 when he drove a tank into a house and killed a puppy.
Jackie Chan (born 1952)
Chan’s death has been reported several times, including twice in 2013.
After the #RIPJackieChan hashtag started trending again, the Spy Next Door star assured fans he had not suffered a heart attack, been in a car crash, or fallen off a 12-story building.
Arnold Schwarzenegger (born 1947)
The Terminator star experienced a death hoax via Twitter in 2015.
Schwarzenegger did not pass away from a heart attack, but if he had, his last words likely would have been, “I’ll be back.”
Tanya Roberts (1955 – 2021)
Tragically, there have been some premature death announcements. Tanya Roberts’ publicist accidentally announced her passing while she was still alive but hospitalized.
The A View to a Kill star died shortly after. Her Charlie’s Angels co-star, Jaclyn Smith, paid tribute: “Goodbye angel, Rest In Peace.”