Dead People Server
Not Dead Yet
Quash Those Dead People Rumors!
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There were very persistent rumors about
June Carter Cash and
Vandross being dead before 5/15/2003. Neither died before that date
(despite at least one would-be "insider" saying that Cash died on 5/12/03!).
Cash had complications following heart surgery and died on 5/15/2003;
Vandross, after suffering a stroke in mid-April of 2003, died on 7/1/2005.
Dead People Server will rarely be "first" with reporting a rumored death,
it will be accurate instead.
An anonymous/pseudononymous death announcement on Twitter or in alt.obituaries or on Websites like
and on other certain Web sites are pretty much meaningless. Some people use message boards and the Web to spread rumors. I won't even bother to list such rumors here.
Not Dead Yet * * Death Rumors That Were Wrong at the Time But No Longer * * Still Dead * * Dead People Server Errors
Not Dead Yet
Scott Baio (actor) -- Not dead yet! On the day Chris Farley died, a persistent rumor that Baio died hit LaLaLand so hard that even his agent was spooked.
Mayim Bialik (actress) -- Not dead. I suppose some people confused an actress's wish to go to college, get advanced degrees and care for her children as "death..." *sigh* TV's Blossom. Returned to TV in 2010 as a regular on The Big Bang Theory, she survived a car accident which damaged her hand in the summer of 2012.
Jimmy Buffett (singer) -- Not dead, just chillin'...
Steve Burns (kid show host) -- Alive. For some reason, there's a rumor running around that he's dead.
Bill Cosby -- Alive. Some stupid people plant rumors, other stupid people who can't be bothered to check Dead People Server or
Google News to check keep spreading the original rumor.
Frasier Crane ("alive") -- Erroneously reported dead on a Frasier episode after a minor car accident.
Morgan Freeman (alive) -- Rumors spread in late 2010 and again in 2012 that he had died. Still with us, more alive than the brain-dead rumor-mongers.
Matt Frewer (actor) -- Alive, contrary to some rumor that he was murdered.
June Foray (cartoon voice) -- Alive, a great thing in her late '90s (and still working!).
Harry Goaz (obscure actor) -- Alive. Played Andy Brennan on Twin Peaks - there was a persistent rumor about his demise making the rounds.
Stephen Hawking (physicist) -- Not dead yet. He's had a motor neuron disease for over 40 years, which is an extraordinarily long time to survive with this condition. Even remarried, paid off a bet he'd lost, and had his first wife write a "tell all" book about him.
Hugh Hefner (playboy)-- Alive. Late in 2014, a clickbait site claimed Hefner
had died. While he was 88 at the time, he'd just been on Twitter earlier in the day. I pointed out that I couldn't imagine that Hefner would die so close to New Year's Eve.
Holly Johnson (rocker)-- Alive, but is HIV-positive. Lead singer for Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Johnson has kept a low profile but is still alive.
James Earl Jones (actor) -- Alive. On the night that James Earl Ray died, Pittsburgh baseball announcer Lanny Fratere told thousands of listeners that James Earl Jones had died.
Milla Jovovich (actress) -- Alive. On Mar 16, 1999, Charemon Jonovich, the SO of Murphy Brown's Robert Pastorelli, was found shot dead, sparking the rumor that it was Milla Jovovich who had died.
Dean Kamen (inventor) -- Alive.
Developed an early insulin pump and the Segway. He's fine, but the British businessman, Jimi Heselden, who'd bought the Segway company was killed in a Segway accident on his estate.
Julie Kavner (actress) -- Alive. Someone on alt.obituaries thinks otherwise, but...
Andrew Lincoln (undead actor) -- Alive. Big rumor hit the net in 6/14 that the Walking Dead star was found dead.
Jerry Mathers (child actor) -- Alive. Another Jerry Mathers was killed in Vietnam in 1969, sparking persistant rumors
that "the Beav" had died in Nam.
Sir Paul McCartney (musician) -- Alive. Rumors of his death have swirled around for over 30 years. His wife Linda died of cancer in 1998. Saw him very much alive and in concert in August 2010 when he was the opening act for the new Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh and sold out the house.
Eddie Mekka (actor/dancer) -- Not hung on the Jamie Foxx Show, but his neck was apparently stretched a little more than planned. During a stunt for the show, in which his character was supposed to be hung by his scarf, the trick turned too realistic and sent Eddie into hypoxia.
(educator) -- The day after he urged parents to not teach the pseudo-science of creationism to their children, a rumor that
he'd died hit the Internet. Not hard to guess what kind of person started that rumor...
Ozzy Osbourne (rocker) -- Alive.
Someone decided to announce his death on 1/20/05 while Ozzy was visiting
his home in England.
Joe Piscopo (comic) -- Not dead yet. Has had cancer.
Ben Savage (actor) -- Not dead yet. Rumored to have died in a car accident in September 2006.
Craig Shergold (healthy person) - Alive and up to his neck in post cards. In the early '80s, he was sick with cancer and asked for people to send him post cards. Hundreds of thousands sent him cards. The child went into remission. His family asked for people to stop. The story mutated over the years, and took on a life of its own on the Internet.
Dave Swarbrick (folk fiddler) -- Alive. The British paper The Daily Telegraph reported him as dead on Apr 20, 1999, while he was in the hospital fighting a lung infection.
Paul Vance (songwriter) -- Alive. A similarly named person who'd claimed to have written "Itsy Bitsy Yello Polka Dot Bikini" died in September 2006 but the actual
author of the song lives on.
Edward O. Wilson
(entomologist/teacher/writer) -- Alive. Erroneously listed as having died by the San Francisco Chronicle in a March 2005 article.
"Weird Al" Yankovic (musical satirist) -- Not dead. Since a cartoon character in King of the Hill said he was dead, a few people are wondering. Weird Al, in "life imitating art," briefly did a kid's TV show, kind of the PeeWee Herman of the late '90s.
Death Rumors That Were Wrong at the Time But No Longer
Tom Bosley (actor) -- Best-known as "Mr. C." in Happy Days, some people confused him with David Doyle (Charlies' Angels) who died a few years before Bosley.
Frank Cady (actor) -- Mr. Drucker on Green Acres was often been reported as dead, but spent much of a long retirement out playing golf.
Richard Dawson -- Some people confused him with Ray Combs, the Family Feud host who committed suicide long before Dawson died of cancer.
Joe DiMaggio (baseball great) -- He wasn't dead yet on Jan 24, 1999, when NBC erroneously broadcast his death following a New York Daily News report that Joltin' Joe was on death's door.
Ian Dury (rocker) -- He wasn't dead on August 26, 1998, when Bob Geldof announced on a radio show that Dury had already died of cancer.
Larry Hagman (actor) -- He had an illness that required partial removal of
his second liver, but went back to work and starred in the Dallas reboot in 2012.
Bob Hope (comedian) -- On June 5, 1998, a week after
Hope's well-publicized 95th birthday, Rep. Stump of Arizona read what he
thought was an AP report of Hope's death on the floor of the House. Just
another example that you can't believe anything you hear in Congress.
(There was an erroneous report at the AP site, but it contained the
boilerplate obit prepared in advance for famous people - it didn't contain
a date or a cause. Dick Armey didn't have the judgement necessary to
comprehend that it was an error, and passed the info to Stump, who likewise
lacked the judgement and announced the death which was then broadcast
on CSPAN to a somewhat confused nation. Most of the news services did not
carry this as "a fact" - only Reuters/Yahoo carried this report before
retracting it. Check your facts, folks!! A reader reported that
ABC News Radio announced Hope's death, went into a refrain of "Thanks for
the Memories," then corrected themselves!)
Whitney Houston (singer, actress) -- In the wake of the
WTC bombing, a persistent rumor hit the nets that
Houston had died of a drug overdose (based on her
emaciated public appearances). Her spokeswoman
denied it. However, she died in early 2012 at relatively
Russell Johnson (actor) -- Erroneously reported in some places as dead due to some confusion after the death of his son a few years back.
"The Crocodile Hunter" Irwin (zoo director) --
Not fatally wounded by an animal until 2006 (only celeb to die by stingray).
Steve Jobs (Entrepreneur/geek) -- Bloomberg inadvertantly ran his obituary on 8/27/08. He says he was cured of pancreatic cancer in 2004, but looked gaunt at an Apple meeting in the summer of 2008 and resigned as CEO in 2011, about 2 months before his death in October 2011.
B. B. King (blues great) -- A song writer named Pee Wee King wrote wrote The Tennesee Waltz died in early 2000, and some people thought that meant BB, who lived another 15 years.
Jay Lake (writer) -- When it was announced Jay went into hospice care due to his advanced cancer in late May 2014, some people paid tribute to him online in such a way that other people interpreted the tributes as a sign that he had died already. He actually died on June 1, 2014.
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon Windsor (Queen Mum) -- She lived to be 101, so some people thought a nosebleed brought her down. Instead, she survived her younger daughter by over a month.
Victor Mature (actor) -- At least one film book killed him off before August 1999.
Maureen O'Hara (actress) -- Someone at IMDB
confused Maureen O'Sullivan (who died on Jun 22, 1998) with
the very much alive Ms. O'Hara for a few weeks after
Ms. O'Sullivan's death. O'Hara was alive for another 17 years.
Robert Palmer (resistable performer) -- Died after a music critic with the same name died.
Natasha Richardson (actress) -- Several online sites posted a rumor of her death after she was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (after what initially appeared to be a minor ski accident). She died the next day (3/18/2009) after being removed from life support.
Mollie Sugden (actress) -- Rumored to have died of a heart attack on Aug 31, 1998, but her agent spoke to her on the phone on Sep 9, 1998. She died over 10 years later.
Margaret Thatcher (first female Prime Minister) -- A British news outlet inadvertantly killed her off in the summer of 2012.
Abe Vigoda (actor) -- People Magazine reported him as dead erroneously in passing in an article in the early '80s. Showed up in a candy bar commercial in early 2010 and died in early 2016.
(country singer) -- On his 84th birthday, the Tennessean announced he'd died, but deleted the article by the next day.
People Who Are Still Dead
Generalisimo Francisco Franco (military leader) -- As Chevy Chase used to say during the first year of Saturday Night Life, "still dead."
Andy Kaufman (comic) -- Still dead no matter
how many times Bob Zmuda (Andy's old partner) plays Tony Clifton and tries to say
otherwise - here's Andy's death certificate, something people can't fake.
Maria Augusta Von Trapp (writer/singer) -- Even though Maria, the woman whose family and book inspired The Sound of Music died in 1987, several Websites and many Tweeters re-killed her off in 2014 when her last surviving step-child, Maria Von Trapp, died at 99 (Maria Augusta would have been 109 if she'd still been alive in 2014).
Dead People Server Errors
Every once in a while, I screw up a status. Here are some I'm aware of:
Forrest J Ackerman (editor/fan) -- A British site reported his death on November 6, 2008. A number of us used this source to report his death without adequate verification. At the time, Forry was home receiving hospice care. He made it to his 92nd birthday on November 24, and died on December 4, 2008.
(actor, newscaster) -- Alive. When Suge Knight ran over Terry Carter (a record producer), many people assumed it was Terry Carter, the actor, including, for about 4 minutes, Dead People Server.
Robert Easton (actor/dialect coach) -- I got an E-mail in 4/2012, letting me know of Robert Easton's death in late 2011. I lost track of the E-mail until 9/2012 and did update the record at that time.
George Clayton Johnson (writer) -- Dead. Rumors from usually credible resources hit the net on 12/22/15 (including, I'm sad to say, Dead People Server), but he didn't actually die until 12/25/15.
Charles Lane (actor) -- Dead (as of 7/07), but I thought he was dead before then, and had said so a bunch
of times over the years. He celebrated his 100th birthday in 2005 and was interviewed on TV several times.
Albert Schatz (scientist) -- Dead. Even though he was listed in DPS in at least 2001, I completely missed his death in early 2005 and failed to update
his record until mid-2013.
Herman Stein (composer) -- Dead (as of 3/07), but I neglected to update his record in DPS until 2/08. However, he was reported as dead in the late '80s.
Marcia Strassman (actress) --
I carelessly screwed up her record in February 2005 and fixed it in late March 2005. Or, I thought I did. Someone pointed out to me in March 2007 that I'd still killed off Marcia. It's fixed - this time, for sure! And then, after she died in October 2014, I forgot to move her rumor record to the, sadly, correct location of this file.
Lucy Vodden (Beatles inspiration) -- Dead. I was one of the people who misidentified the "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" inpiration as Lucy Richardson, who also died relatively young.
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