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Tom Hanks Death Hoax

Summary:
Message that appears to be a news report claims that the actor Tom Hanks fell to his death while filming on location in New Zealand (Full commentary below).



Status:
False

Example:(Submitted, November 2006)
Subject: Actor - Tom Hanks Falls To His Death In New Zealand

THIS STORY IS STILL DEVELOPING...

Actor Tom Hanks died while filming a movie in New Zealand early this morning - November 18, 2006.

Preliminary reports from New Zealand Police officials indicate that the actor fell more than 60 feet to his death on the Kauri Cliffs while on-set.

The accident occured at aproximatly 4:30 a.m. (UTC/GMT +12). Additional details and information will be forthcoming.

New Zealand, in recent years has grown in populariaty as a backdrop for Hollywood producers because of it's scenic and rugged landscape.

Recent movies filmed in New Zealand include The Lord Of the Rings, King Kong, and The Chronicles Of Narnia.




Commentary:
Rumours that actor Tom Hanks was killed while making a movie in New Zealand are currently rocketing around the Internet via email, blogs and online forum posts. According to the rumours, Hanks fell to his death from the Kauri Cliffs while filming on location.

However, I'm happy to report that the rumours are without substance. Tom Hanks is alive and well. The actor is currently working on the new movie, "Charlie Wilson's War", which is being filmed in the US and Canada. A TMZ.com article about the hoax includes a recent photo of the star taken during filming of the new movie.

The rumour began after a fake news story about the supposed death was published on the prank site, FakeAWish.com. The site allows visitors to insert a person's name into one of the "story templates" available on the site by adding the name to the template's web address. This modified web address will then open a version of the fake story that includes the inserted name within the headline and text. In this case, someone inserted the name "Tom Hanks" and apparently sent the link around to others. The story soon began to circulate via email as well as online. Since it escaped out of its original context, many recipients have been duped into believing the claims in the story and have passed it on. Thus, the bogus story has quickly spread around the world.

Famous people often find themselves the target of "premature death" hoaxes. In June, 2006 a fake news report claimed that actor Jaleel White, (Urkel in "Family Matters"), had committed suicide. Earlier in 2006, a hoax falsely claimed that actor Will Ferrell had died in a hang-gliding accident. And, in 2004, a fake news article claimed that American Idol contestant William Hung had died of a deliberate drug overdose.

References:
Bogus Report Circulating That Tom Hanks Has Died
Jaleel White of Urkel Fame Is Not Dead
Will Ferrell is Not Dead
William Hung Is Not Dead

Last updated: 20th November 2006
First published: 20th November 2006

Write-up by Brett M.Christensen