Is there no rhyme or reason to who the World Wide Internets chooses to kill? Or—gasp!—give a venereal disease to?
Actually, there is...
Are you a teen idol? Sorry, Bieber. You are a marked 16-year-old. From the Fonz on down, and no doubt before, the object of teens' desires has been the prime subject of death rumors. If you doubted Bieber's place in the pop-culture universe, it was confirmed over the weekend when the singer was killed off for the fourth time in a year and then falsely said to be the subject of a CNN report on a syphilis infection.
Are you in Twilight? If so, you are a teen idol with something extra—a fan base with a wider age range. Some of your more elderly followers (or haters)—you know, people in their 20s—will have the minds to invent River Phoenixian ways for Lautner to go, or the means to concoct fake news stories about Stewart.
We'd boldly predict that, given the impending onset of Eclipse and the buzz surrounding their MTV Movie Awards kiss, Pattinson and Stewart will be the next big celebrity death rumor, but we're too late. They were killed off over the weekend, too.
Were you a star in the 1980s? Maybe it's a Hot Tub Time Machine thing. Or maybe it's a Corey Haim and Gary Coleman thing. Whatever the reason, the 1980s are currently fertile ground for death hoaxsters. Hence, we have seen the recent fake demises of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's James "Uncle Phil" Avery (technically, yes, a star of the 1990s, but close enough...) and Bill Cosby.
Emmanuel Lewis, we wish you well—and pray you don't score a cameo in the Breaking Dawn movies. You don't need the trouble, friend.
Are you anybody? Anybody at all? This is the part where we throw our hands in the air and admit that at times there is no rhyme or reason to celebrity death rumors. Last week's bogus Russell Crowe Austrian mountain mishap ranks right up there for sheer randomness with Will Ferrell's fictional but deadly paragliding accident from a few years back. As a middle-aged star who is not at all 1980s obscure, Crowe has no right being the subject of a widely transmitted death rumor. And yet he was.
The bottom line: It's open season on everybody, every day minute.
Can you keep all the not-dead stars straight? Let us help you sort things out with our Alive & Kicking: Celebrity Death Hoaxes gallery.