Why does the death of Rue McClanahan keep going viral, despite her death five years ago in 2010? Apparently, because Facebook users can’t read the date on her obituary.
Every four months, someone on my Facebook feed thinks Rue McClanahan just died.— Emily V Gordon (@thegynomite) June 13, 2015
On Friday, the now-old news of McClanahan’s death went viral — again. While Golden Girls actress Rue McClanahan is still very much alive in popular memory on reruns of the hit series, Rue herself has not been with us for many years, after dying at the age of 76 from a brain hemorrhage.
The saucy actress played man-crazed southern belle Blanche Devereaux on the classic television show The Golden Girls. The popular series ran from 1985 to 1992, and now has a loyal following. Popular actress Betty White also starred in the series as the quirky housemate, Rose.
The news of her death first went viral back in 2014, when a Facebook user with a large following posted a 2010 CBS obituary with the news of Rue’s death. While readers pointed out the date of the death, even more readers flew over that bit of information, causing the very dated news article to spiral out of control again.
According to the Canada Journal, when the news went viral in 2014, four years after the obituary was published, the Washington Post published a report which deconstructed why the news about Rue McClanahan keeps going viral.
“In an additional, interesting twist, many of the R.I.P. Blanche crowd also link to a CBS article about McClanahan’s demise, dated to 2010. Unlike similar cases, when faulty datelines have caused celebrities to ‘re-die’ on Twitter, this seems like a instance of simple misreading: The date’s clearly marked at the top of the page, above the headline, but people fly right over it in their haste to read of Rue.”
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, it seems reporting the fake demise of celebrities like McClanahan has become a thing on the internet. While Rue McClanahan is certainly no longer with us, last year, reports surfaced stating that troubled actor Macaulay Culkin was dead. According to a report on MSNBC, the actor was confirmed dead when police did a wellness check at the request of family members. However, Culkin is still very much alive.
Similar reports have surfaced about celebrities such as Morgan Freeman and Will Smith, with each obituary going viral. Whether it’s misinformation or whether readers simply miss the dates on obituaries, it certainly has become a trend to report false — or in Rue McClanahan’s case, old — news of a celebrity’s death.
[Image from YouTube]