5 Celebrities Who Were Declared Dead Before They Actually Were

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Trivial Diversions

5 Celebrities Who Were Declared Dead Before They Actually Were

5 Celebrities Who Were Declared Dead Before They Actually Were

Being a celebrity comes with the fame and fortune that everyone seems to crave but it also comes with its own special set of problems. They have to deal with paparazzi, interviews, and are constantly having to remind people that they did not, in fact, die.

People.com recently ran actor, Kirk Douglas’ obituary stating that the 97 year old had died. Apparently a draft was written up (in preparation for his death??) and published online with the hilarious title: “DO NOT PUB Kirk Douglas Dies”. In all reality Kirk Douglas is turning 98 (congratulations!) next week and plans on things going according to plan! Check out a few other obituary kerfuffles.

Marcus Garvey

marcus garvey

Marcus Garvey was born in 1887 and went on to be a very predominate Jamaican political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator. He gave speeches on Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism, which aided in his finding of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL).

In June of 1940, Garvey died in his London home after suffering two consecutive strokes after reading his own obituary in the Chicago Defender. Not only was this obituary, obviously, pre-mature it also negatively claimed that Garvey died, “broke, alone, and unpopular”. To make matters worse after Garvey died his body was interred in London because of war time travel restrictions. His body was finally re-interred in Jamaica TWENTY years later.

Arthur C. Clarke


Arthur C. Clarke was born in 1917 and lived an exciting life as Science Fiction writer, science writer, futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and TV series host. His major claim to fame was being the co-writer of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Let that sink in…a guy born in 1917 (a mere 5 years after the Titanic Sank) co-wrote the science-fiction breakthrough 2001.

Clarke had his obituary posted in the Goddard Retirees and Alumni Association (G.R.A.A.) newsletter, he died in February 2008. The obituary misprinted the date of his death and the obituary stated he died in 2000. They still haven’t changed it and they even got his cause of death wrong.

Lucien Bouchard

lucien bouchard

Lucien Bouchard was born in 1938 in Quebec, Canada and is the younger brother to historian Gerard Bouchard. He studied law in college and became the Minister of the Environment for the Canadian Federal Government where he remained until retirement in 2001.

In September of 2005 Bouchard was pronounced dead by CTV after being very ill. The network even started showing a tribute to Lucien and ended up cutting it off after realizing their error. CTV then blamed Radio-Canada in a battle of he-said-she-said. They still blame each other and Lucien Bouchard is still with us.

Dick Cheney

File image of former US Vice President Cheney speaking about national security at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington

Dick Cheney was born January 30th, 1941 and went on to become the 46th Vice President of the United States. During the “Cnn.com Incident” in 2003 several draft obituaries were accidently posted on the website. Drafts for Fidel Castro, Nelson Mandela, Bob Hope, Gerald Ford, Pope John Paul II, Ronald Regan, and Dick Cheney were published.

Hilariously enough Cheney’s draft obituary was apparently using the same template as The Queen Mother. So this accidental obituary described Cheney as “Queen Consort” and the “UK’s favorite grandmother”.

Robert Graves

by Peter Stark, bromide print, 1970s

Robert Graves was born in July of 1895; he went on to live life in the arts as a poet, novelist, critic, and classicist. He wrote more than 140 works throughout his life and translated many Greek myths. His poems, memoir of the First World War, and study of poetic inspiration have never been out of print. In 1916, at the age of 21, Graves was left for dead after suffering serious injuries in the Battle of Somme.

Upon hearing this news The Times published Graves’ obituary. Remarkably, Robert Graves made a complete recovery and read his obituary when he got home. Graves lived to be 90 years old and died in 1985 of heart failure.

Peter Boyle

peter boyle

Born in 1935, Boyle attended an all-boys school in Philadelphia and went on to spend 3 years at the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. He left after realizing the religious life wasn’t for him, but not before earning his BA. He spent a brief time in the United States Navy after graduating from Officer Candidate School in 1959. Boyle landed the job of a life time in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein and later would portray the curmudgeonly father in Everybody Loves Raymond.

In October of 1990, Boyle was reported to have died after suffering a massive stroke weeks earlier. While the stroke did nearly paralyze the actor, he did make a complete recovery. However, in the book Cult Movie Stars his lifespan is still incorrect (1935-1990). Peter Boyle ended up living until the age of 71 and died in 2006.

Related topics Arthur C. Clarke, Dick Cheney, Kirk Douglas, Lucien Bouchard, Marcus Garvey, Peter Boyle, premature obituaries, Robert Graves
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