It's A Hoax: Gene Hackman Is NOT Dead
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.