Actor Kirk Douglas is not dead, but when the actor’s obituary that was accidentally published by People magazine Sunday, many assumed that the legendary actor had died. Thankfully, Douglas, 97, is still very much alive and while the news of his death was not a hoax, someone at the magazine made a big mistake publishing the pre-written death notice.
The headline of the obituary was the first indication that something was amiss. Some of People‘s Twitter followers immediately noticed that what appeared to be a working headline was not meant for publication.
“DO NOT PUB Kirk Douglas Dies” was the working title for an article that was apparently written in preparation for Douglas’ future death, something the Hollywood Reporter states is “common practice for media outlets.”
The danger of the advance obit. DO NOT PUB Kirk Douglas Dies http://t.co/8euTMrAxuH
— Dawn Chmielewski (@DawnC331) December 1, 2014
The post included two photos of Douglas a clip from his 1956 Vincent Van Gogh biographical movie, Lust for Life. The letters “TK” were writting in place of his date of death, which Media Bistro states is journalistic shorthand for “to come” and is used in article drafts to indicate information that is missing.
“Kirk Douglas, one of the few genuine box-office names to emerge just as TV was overtaking American culture in the years right after World War II, died TK TK TK. He was 97 (DOB 12/9/1916) and had been in good health despite having suffered a debilitating 1996 stroke that rendered his speech difficult.”
It is not known how long Kirk Douglas’ obituary has been pre-written, but the date under the headline reads “Monday, September 30, 2014 3 p.m. EDT” — a clear indication that the magazine has been prepping for Douglas’ death for a few months.
People was called out for publishing the death notice, with Twitter users pointing out the rather embarrassing error to the entertainment magazine.
— Kate Aurthur (@KateAurthur) December 1, 2014
By early evening on Sunday, the story was removed from People magazine’s website and the link redirected to the site’s homepage.
Kirk Douglas, who has been married to Anne Buydens since 1954, will celebrate his 98th birthday on December 9. Although he suffered a severe stroke in 1996 that partially impaired his ability to speak, he is said to be in good health.
[Photo Credit: BBC/Getty Images]