Faux celebrity deaths gaining ground

Photo: The Urban Daily

Twitter was alight with condolences on September 3, the day Michael Clarke Duncan died. A week later, fans lamented over the death of another beloved star: Morgan Freeman.

“At about 5 p.m. ET on Thursday, our beloved actor Morgan Freeman passed away due to a artery rupture,” the facebook page announcing his death read. “Morgan was born on June 1, 1937. He will be missed but not forgotten. Please show your sympathy and condolences by commenting on and liking this page.” The page has over 950,000 likes.

There’s just one problem: Morgan Freeman is not actually dead.

His announced demise was simply another hoax in a string of increasingly-popular sham celebrity “deaths.” Other non-casualties of 2012 include Bill Cosby, Paris Hilton and Adam Sandler.

It may be difficult to pinpoint the genesis of the public’s obsession with faux- celebrity deaths, but the most egregious recent example dates back to 2009, when media outlets reported on the death of actor Jeff Goldblum. Shortly after, the actor showed up on “The Colbert Report” to announce that he was, in fact, still very much alive.

The entertainment world is still reeling from a year inundated with the actual deaths of the likes of Tony Scott, Robin Gibb, Adam Yauch and Whitney Houston, along with Clarke Duncan, whose memorial page stand at just above 700,000 likes, far below Freeman’s page.

The Twitter responses to the hoax fluctuate between positive and negative, accommodating and obscene.

“One day, Morgan Freeman is going to die for real,” said Twitter user ‘hrmcewan.’ “And nobody’s going to give a s—t.”


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