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Tom Hanks Death Hoax

by Brett M. Christensen

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).


Subject: Actor – Tom Hanks Falls To His Death In New Zealand


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.

Detailed Analysis:
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.

Last updated: 20th November 2006
First published: 20th November 2006
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

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

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,