Did you hear the news that beloved TV actor, Ron Palillo, the guy who played Arnold Horshack on Welcome Back, Kotter died this week? You are not alone. Unfortunately, Palillo did die. Two years ago. For inexplicable reasons, Ron Palillo's death resurfaced this week, as the CNN article about his passing began to trend on social media. The problem is, the news is 24 months old. Confused fans began grouping Palillo's passing with that of Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall, calling his the mythical "third" in the celebrity death trilogy. Many people commented on how they enjoyed Horshack as a character, and calls for Rest In Peace were plentiful.
How does this happen? It's a fact that news as a whole is recycled all the time, but any and all links to an obituary comes with a dated story. Here's a link to The Inquisitr article stating that Ron Palillo passed away. It's now in the body of this article. And very clearly, the date of this somber news on August 14, 2012. Does social media numb readers to only read and comprehend headlines and not the carefully constructed words that a writer has created as part of a tribute to the fallen? And even if the link is clicked and the story is read, is the date -- and by-line -- inherently ignored by the reader?
This confusion promoted the Los Angeles Times to run a story declaring that Ron Palillo did not die on Friday. Mostly because he was already dead. But Twitter still blew up with condolences for Palillo's family.
https://twitter.com/Napolillo/statuses/500500343298351104And yet another: And according to the LA Times article, even CNN anchor Jake Tapper tweeted a comment before realizing his mistake and deleting the tweet. But at least Tapper responded to his mistake and even tweeted about that acknowledgment in an awesome way. Mistakes happen, and for a celebrity -- even one who has passed -- staying in the public eye is what they strive for. Ron Palillo was a kind-hearted and genuinely funny fellow. I'm sure, if he were alive, he would enjoy this last bit of celebrity, even at his own expense. But before sharing a death notice or obituary, its always best to know what you are sharing. Because while Ron Palillo might have found it funny, his loved ones are reminded once again of the loss and it's not fair to them.
Ron Palillo was 63. Rest in Peace, again, Ron.