Social media has created the perfect condition for death hoaxes to thrive. Beloved actor Morgan Freeman is one of the celebrities who has reportedly been taken from us too soon — more than once. Fortunately, for someone who has apparently suffered multiple deaths, Freeman has been able to keep a sense of humor about it.
Morgan Freeman reportedly died in 2012
In 2012, Freeman was keeping pace with his long-running career. He had a movie in theaters, The Magic of Belle Isle, and he was recording a new movie. But then a report appeared that he had unexpectedly died.
According to Reuters, a Facebook page posted the “news,” saying, “At about 5 p.m. ET on Thursday, our beloved actor Morgan Freeman passed away due to a artery rupture. 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 post quickly gathered almost a million likes, and Freeman’s fans poured out their praise and remembrances for the beloved actor. But of course, there was one problem with the story–it wasn’t true.
Morgan Freeman responded to the death rumors
Fans who fell for the hoax had good reason to be slightly more cautious about the news. Only two years earlier, the claim that Freeman had died at home swept social media before being debunked.
This time, Freeman himself took to Facebook to dispel the rumors. He posted a picture of himself and wrote, “Like Mark Twain, I keep reading that I have died. I hope those stories are not true… But if they are, I’m happy to report that my afterlife seems identical to my life when I was alive. I did go to Las Vegas to begin work on the film Last Vegas. That is anything but a death sentence.”
His mention of Mark Twain refers to the time in 1897 when the author was wrongly reported to have died. According to Mental Floss, when a journalist contacted him to see if it was true, Twain responded with his characteristic dry wit, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”
Both Freeman and Twain seemed to have the right idea regarding responding to death hoaxes. Whether they infrequently happened in the 19th century or with alarming regularity in the social media era, the best response is probably with humor.
Other celebrity death hoaxes
According to E! News, several celebrities have been reported dead before their time. This list includes James Earl Jones, Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, and Celine Dion. Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears were even once rumored to have died together in a car crash when they were dating.
No matter how many people fall for a fake death story, the truth always comes to light, and some stars can make a joke out of it. When Jon Bon Jovi was reported to have died of cardiac arrest in 2011, he posted a picture of himself holding a sign that read, “Heaven looks a lot like New Jersey.”
When Jeff Goldblum supposedly died in 2009, he appeared on The Colbert Report to “confirm” the news of his demise personally.
It seems inevitable that inaccurate reports of celebrity deaths are going to happen. Fortunately, some stars can laugh off these hoaxes and show their fans that they’re just fine.