A confusing award show speech, a misleading headline and a death-hoax Facebook page combined to make more than a million people believe Gene Hackman had passed away, when in fact the 84-year-old Oscar-winner is very much alive.
One of those people was Stalker star Dylan McDermott, who added to the explosion throughout the Twitterverse when he tweeted a tribute to Hackman, under the mistaken impression that he had died:
After realizing the error, McDermott deleted that tweet and issued this one:
I guess Gene Hackman’s death was a celebrity hoax. People have too much damn time on their hands…
— Dylan McDermott (@DylanMcDermott) January 28, 2015
McDermott fell victim to a fake Facebook page that attracted more than a million “likes,”; falsely claiming that Hackman had died on Monday.
“At about 11 a.m. ET on Monday (January 26, 2015), our beloved actor Gene Hackman passed away,”; it read. “He will be missed but not forgotten. Please show your sympathy and condolences by commenting on and liking this page.”;
The hoax may have originated from Kevin Costner’s acceptance speech at the recent Critics’ Choice Movie Awards a few weeks back, when he paid tribute to Hackman and Sean Connery. “I stand here and can’t help but think there’s been some kind of mistake,”; said the Dances With Wolves star, “like this isn’t for me, like I’m really accepting this for Sean Connery or Gene Hackman because they couldn’t be here themselves.”;
Adding fuel to the fire was a story posted yesterday on the Grantland website, with the headline reading “Gene Hackman Is Gone But Still in Charge.”;
The headline refers to Hackman’s retirement from movies, but the word “gone”; implies death, leading to even more confusion.
For the record, reps for the actor confirmed that Gene Hackman is still alive, and will celebrate his 85th birthday on Friday.