Clooney latest star to deny own death
George Clooney and internet prank phenomenon Rick Astley are among the stars forced to deny their own deaths after rumours spread by web hoaxers
George Clooney is the latest star forced to deny his own demise, following a spate of phoney celebrity death reports in the wake of Michael Jackson's death in Los Angeles last week.
Since then actors Jeff Goldblum, Harrison Ford and Natalie Portman, along with singers Britney Spears, Rick Astley and the Disney star Miley Cyrus have all been reported as dead, despite their publicists confirming that they are alive and well.
Yesterday George Clooney's publicist Stan Rosenfield was forced to insist there was no truth to the rumours that the Ocean's Eleven star had died, after his office was bombarded by calls from journalists and close friends of the actor.
Michael Jackson's death on Thursday came just hours after the death of the former Charlie's Angels actress and 1970s sex symbol Farrah Fawcett. Perhaps inspired by the idea that bad things come in threes, internet hoaxers first tried to say actor Goldblum had fallen off a cliff while filming in New Zealand, before using a version of the same rumour for a story about Natalie Portman.
The Star Wars actress was said to have been killed on the set of her latest movie, Swan Song. Harrison Ford, meanwhile, had been holidaying on a 120ft yacht off St Tropez when, rumour had it, a storm hit and the boat caught fire.
Britney Spears's death was reported from the singer's own Twitter account, with a message posted on the micro-blogging site saying: "Britney has passed today. It is a sad day for everyone. More news to come." A subsequent post on her Twitter page said it had been hacked into and added: "[Britney] is fine and dandy spending a quiet day at home relaxing." Miley Cyrus was another to be stung in a web death prank, when her fans were told on Twitter that the Hannah Montana actress had been killed in a car crash.
But perhaps most fitting was the claim by internet pranksters of the demise of Rick Astley. The British singer was able to relaunch his career two years ago thanks to serial pranksters who invented the internet phenomenon of 'Rickrolling', which tricked internet users into going to a video of his 1987 hit Never Gonna Give You Up.
On Monday night, hoaxers posted a faked Associated Press report, using a genuine AP byline, on CNN's user-generated iReport service. It announced - falsely - Astley's death in a hotel room in Berlin. ·
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