Top 10 Celebrity Death Hoaxes

Yesterday, shocking rumors were swirling that former Charlie's Angel Jaclyn Smith had committed suicide in Honduras. In fact, the Latin American news story had been mis-translated: one of Jaclyn's former stunt doubles had been rushed to the hospital with a gunshot wound, while Smith remains alive and well in Beverly Hills.

This isn't the first time that a celebrity death has been falsely reported, though – and with the increasing popularity of Twitter, those rumors spread faster than ever. Here are the top 10 celebrities reported dead in recent memory – all of whom are alive and kicking.

1.In 2006, Tom Hanks reportedly fell off a cliff in New Zealand while shooting a film. The rumor quickly flooded email inboxes, despite the fact that Hanks wasn't even in New Zealand at the time, but was shooting Charlie Wilson's War in California. The rumor was traced back to a fake-news-generating site, but the damage had been done – case in point:

2.Tom Cruise met the same fake end as Tom Hanks in 2008, when rumors circulated that the actor had fallen from New Zealand's Kauri Cliffs. His publicist was quick to rescue his client from the dead, saying, "This is erroneous and unreliable Internet garbage." And yet…

3.Just a few months ago, the exact same death rumor began re-circulating with a vengeance, this time about Jeff Goldblum. His reported death-by-New-Zealand-cliff was talked up extensively on Twitter by such celebrity friends as Demi Moore and Kevin Spacey, who pleaded with fans to "Stop these stupid rumors." The Goldblum rumor began shortly following the actual deaths of Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett, as did the one about…

4.Harrison Ford, who supposedly died the same week as Jeff Goldblum, in a yacht that sank off of St. Tropez. And still one more celebrity victim was falsely declared dead that same week:

5.Miley Cyrus, who allegedly died in a car accident. Miley nipped the rumor in the bud on her Twitter page, but many a child star in the pre-Twitter era has been falsely reported dead, including…

6.Jaleel White, a.k.a. Steve Urkel from Family Matters, who allegedly committed suicide by gunshot wound in 2005. Anyone who actually bothered to read the fake AP story, however, might have been tipped off by the fact that his "suicide note" contained the Urkel catchphrase "Did I do that?" Before Jaleel, two even more prominent young celebs were also hit by the death-rumor mill...

7.In 2001, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake were reported dead by a Dallas radio station, which said that the singers had been in a fatal car collision with a pretzel truck. There was no truth to the rumor, but the Britney-died-in-a-car-crash story actually came around again, just a few months later. Another singer who supposedly died in a car crash:

8.Eminem, who was the subject of a bogus web report in 2000 saying that he had lost his life when, high on drugs and alcohol, he crashed a rental car. The report was posted on fake news pages by a prankster and quickly removed. A statement from Eminem's camp brought him back to life, noting: "Marshall is alive and at home with his family for the holidays in Detroit. And he wishes all of you shady holidays and a dirty new year."

9.Then again, sometimes there's a bit of truth to these rumors. In 2008, Macaulay Culkin's sister died when she was struck by a car – but Perez Hilton posted the headline incorrectly, leading thousands of readers to believe that Macaulay himself had passed away. While this story came from a real tragedy, there are many kids' stars who have died completely fabricated deaths – perhaps most famously…

10.Steve Burns from Blue's Clues, who was allegedly dead from a heroin overdose in 1998. The actor went on TV to battle the totally false rumor, which still follows him to this day. Perhaps it's time for Steve to get a Twitter account?

Chime In: Were you fooled by any of these hoaxes?

FILED UNDER:
Connect with Us
Follow Our Pins

Yummy recipes, DIY projects, home decor, fashion and more curated by iVillage staffers.

Follow Our Tweets

The very dirty truth about fashion internships... DUN DUN @srslytheshow http://t.co/wfewf

On Instagram

Behind-the-scenes pics from iVillage.

Best of the Web