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Here's hoping 2009 brings a better class of celebrity death hoaxes.
Former Mad About You star Paul Reiser this morning became, ever so briefly, the latest star to be prematurely killed off by the Internet when two new ominous and completely unverifiable sentences popped up in his Wikipedia biography.
"On December 27th, 2008 Reiser was discovered dead in the Squallahassee River where he reportedly enjoyed fly fishing," the amended entry read. "No foul play was suspected."
Thankfully, the same couldn't be said for Reiser's Wikipedia page.
It's unclear exactly when the entry was tinkered with or how long it had been up, but less than two hours after it made for blogosphere fodder, the offending passage, along with the actor's supposed date of death, was removed.
Google yields no results on the Squallahassee River, save for other references to the death hoax, all but guaranteeing the location's—and therefore tragedy's—nonexistence.
If nothing else, Reiser can take solace in the fact that the greatly exaggerated report of his demise places him in some fairly formidable company. Back in September, a YouTube video attempted to circulate word that Miley Cyrus had kicked, while October brought the equally unfathomable news that Tom Cruise fell off a cliff to his doom.
Stephen Colbert proved to the masses just how easy it was amend a celebrity's Wikipedia page earlier this month, when he successfully ordered his Colbert Nation minions to alter the biography of Conan O'Brien to include the following bit of nontruthiness: "In 1987, O'Brien was arrested for assaulting a sea turtle with a canoe paddle."
No word on whether the paddle was taken from the Squallahassee River.