Tags: rue mcclanahan | death | hoax | viral | golden girls

Rue McClanahan: Twitter Mourns 'Golden Girls' Star 4 Years After Death

Image: Rue McClanahan: Twitter Mourns 'Golden Girls' Star 4 Years After Death

By    |   Wednesday, 11 Jun 2014 08:05 AM

Rue McClanahan, who played the energetic Blanche Devereaux on "The Golden Girls," died four years ago, but her passing mysteriously trended on Twitter this week as hordes of fans tweeted out their sympathies.

While many celebrities have fallen prey to death hoax rumors — including Subway spokesman Jared, Lou Ferrigno, and Jackie Chan — this may be the first time the death of a celebrity has been widely and inaccurately reported long after the star's actual passing.

With normal death hoaxes, it's often hard to verify whether a star has died or not until they surface to confirm they haven't. The uncertainty fuels the rumor. In this case, however, people could have easily run a Google search to quickly find out that McClanahan died in 2010.

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CBS News reported Tuesday that it's recently received nearly half a million visits to an obituary article it wrote on the day of her passing, June 3, 2010. Upon checking Twitter, it looks like the link is being shared widely, but people aren't taking note of the date it was written.



As is almost always the case with rumors, it looks like the cause of the confusion came from the "telephone game" effect.

The Washington Post noted that one super fan account on Twitter — @Blanche1934, which has over 15,000 followers — tweeted out a remembrance of McClanahan, celebrating her life on the fourth anniversary of her death.



Other, more casual fans must've mistakenly took this remembrance as a death announcement, and left off the correct date in their re-tweets. With each new hasty share, the incorrect death announcement spread further and further.

Although mistaken, the outpouring of sympathy and grief for McClanahan's passing — especially by Twitter users, which skew younger — is a fascinating phenomenon. While it could be seen as insensitive, and likely angered the true "Golden Girls" superfans, the success of the rumor could also be seen as a testament to the massive and clearly long-lasting impact the show and its actors had on the wider culture.

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Rue McClanahan, who played the energetic Blanche Devereaux on "The Golden Girls," died four years ago, but her passing mysteriously trended on Twitter this week as hordes of fans tweeted out their sympathies.
rue mcclanahan, death, hoax, viral, golden girls
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2014-05-11
Wednesday, 11 Jun 2014 08:05 AM
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