So, it looks like Jackie Chan is dead again. At least that’s what the Internet is saying. In fact, he’s alive and well, and probably jumping between two buildings as we speak.
People are fascinated with celebrity gossip. People are fascinated with death. Therefore, people are utterly fascinated by celebrity death rumors. Time and time again, false reports of a celebrity’s demise will surface, and time and time again people take the bait, regardless of how outlandish the claims may be. In honor our gullible, celebrity obsessed populous (and Jackie Chan’s latest ‘death’), here are nine of the greatest celebrity death rumors.
Paul McCartney – Car Crash
In 1969, rumors began to surface that Beatle guitaris Paul McCartney had died in a car crash and been replaced by a look alike. When a college newspaper wrote a hoax article exploring the rumor, the mainstream media took the story as fact, causing an international sensation. “Experts” speculated that hidden messages alluding to Paul’s death were hidden in Beatles songs and on album covers, an understandable assumption given the amount of LSD floating around at the time. But as we all know, Paul did not die. He’s still with us today, putting out sh*t music like this…
Justin Bieber – Suicide
Unconfirmed reports that pop-star Justin Bierber had killed himself began appearing in the summer of 2009. “News” of the singer’s death gradually spread, causing teenage girls to panic and leaving the rest of us to wonder, “Who in the hell is Justin Bieber?”
The rumor came to a head on January 5th, when the teenager went a whopping 14 hours without posting on Twitter, leading fans to the only logical conclusion: he must be dead.
Michael Jackson – Suicide
In 2004, rumors began circulating that The King of Pop had committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. The rumor was fueled by email forwards designed to trick gullible readers into downloading a virus.
When you think about it, it’s easy to see why many people believed this rumor. After all, Jackson had already committed career suicide the previous year by admitting to "sleepovers" with young boys. Why wouldn’t he go the distance?
In 2004, a news report surfaced claiming that Hung, like so many great musicians, had died of an overdose. The report turned out to be a spoof from a satirical news site, which is almost a shame. The idea of Hung shooting up is hilarious.
For those of you who don’t remember, William Hung is the only good thing that ever came out of “American Idol.” He makes the “Pants on the Ground” guy look like the little bitch that he is.
Jeff Goldblum – Fall From a Cliff
In June of 2009, rumors that Jeff Goldblum had fallen off a cliff in New Zealand began circulating on Twitter. The fact that the story was unconfirmed didn’t stop “The Today Show Australia” from running with it. Goldblum took the rumors in stride, going on “The Colbert Report” to eulogize himself.
Will Ferrell – Paragliding Accident
In 2006, a poorly written press release claiming that comedian Will Ferrell had died in a paragliding accident was posted on the Internet. The obviousness of the hoax was lost on many, and the rumor spread like wildfire.
Of course, Ferrell wasn’t even paragliding. But if he had been, I bet he would have been wearing an Abe Lincoln hat.
Johnny Knoxville – Skydiving Accident
When it comes to “Jackass” star Johnny Knoxville, anything is possible. So in 2002, when a rumor broke claiming Knoxville had fallen to his death while skydiving from a biplane and eating a giant jar of beans, it seemed plausible. Luckily, the rumors were false, and Knoxville went on to…uh…wait, are we sure he didn’t really die?
Jerry Mathers – Vietnam War
In 1969, “Leave It to Beaver” star Jerry Mathers was rumored to have been killed in action while serving in Vietnam. The only problem was that Mathers never went to Vietnam. He served stateside in the Air Force Reserve.
While we have nothing against Mathers, it would have been kind of funny if the Viet Cong had captured "the Beave" and forced him into a game of Russian Roulette, Deer Hunter style.
Alfred Nobel – Tennis Elbow
Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist and a celebrity (by 19th Century standards). Unfortunately for Nobel, his claim to fame was his weapons plant and the invention of dynamite. When his brother passed away, a French newspaper printed Alfred’s obituary by mistake. The obit was a scathing indictment of Nobel’s contribution to the horrors of modern warfare (typical liberal media).
Alfred was so disturbed by the obituary that he used his wealth to establish the Nobel Peace Prize. He probably still went to hell, though.
This article was originally published on March 11th, 2010. It was updated on August 18th, 2011.