Tuesday, April 30, 2013

10 Celebrities Mourned Before Their Time

This has been going on forever. When I was a kid it was Mikey from the Life cereal commercials who was falsely declared dead (after ingesting the lethal combination of Pop Rocks candy and Coca-Cola, which was rumored to make you explode). Since then, everyone from Dustin "Screech" Diamond to Justin Bieber to Bon Jovi have been pronounced dead when they weren't. At some point you see these things for what they really are: wishful thinking.

From Reader's Digest.


Following the death of former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher earlier this month, the memorial hashtag #nowthatchersdead began trending worldwide. But it didn't take long before Tweeters misread the missive as "Now that Cher's dead," improbably plopping the still-living "Life After Love" artist into the center of the Internet news mill for a day.


One of America's earliest tabloid media fails occurred in 1897, when Mark Twain was mistakenly reported dead instead of his ailing cousin. Twain was assumed dead a second time in 1907 when reporters briefly lost track of him on a steam ship voyage from Virginia to New York. Twain's twin brushes with the grave prompted him to later pen one of his most enduring one-liners: "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."


To hear the Internet tell it, Justin Bieber has committed suicide (2009), been shot to death in a nightclub (January 2010), suffered a fatal drug overdose (June 2010), and just straight-up kicked the bucket (May 2012 - via an unexplained "RIP Justin Bieber" Twitter trend). Such hoaxes have become routine in the age of Internet stardom.


Rap mogul Lil Wayne actually did end up in a Los Angeles hospital after suffering a seizure this March, but reports that he was being administered his last rites were straight-up trash talk. Weezy tweeted the same afternoon "I'm good everybody. Thx for the prayers and love," and will begin touring his newest album (ominously titled I Am Not A Human Being II) in July.


When crime-writer Agatha Christie went missing from her Berkshire estate for 11 days, friends and family feared the worst. Over 15,000 volunteers were sent to scour the countryside for the presumed-dead author. Turns out Agatha had stormed off and gone into hiding to begrudge her adulterous husband.


The rumor that Paul McCartney died in 1966 remains one of the most famous urban legends of rock. Reports of a late '60s car crash and diminished public appearances by the Cute Beatle spiraled into an international conspiracy investigation. The hundreds of "clues" that emerged from coded messages in The White Album and Abbey Road belie the fact that a breathing 70-year-old Paul recently embarked on another global headlining tour.

(More here)


  1. I hadn't heard about the Cher/Thatcher mix-up. That's pretty funny, actually. It reminds me of the SNL Jeopardy skit categories. :-)

  2. Cher will still be around with the cockroaches after the Apocalypse. She will never die.

    That crazy Agatha -- if anyone was going to disappear and not leave any clues, it would be her!

  3. The single greatest "celebrity mourned before their time" has to be Alfred Nobel.

    From Wikipedia:

    In 1888 Alfred's brother Ludvig died, and a French newspaper erroneously published Alfred's obituary. It stated Le marchand de la mort est mort ("The merchant of death is dead" and went on to say, "Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday."



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