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Goldblum NZ death hoax latest in a trail

Published: 12:11PM Friday June 26, 2009 Source: NZPA

  • Jeff Goldblum (Source: Reuters)
    Jeff Goldblum - Source: Reuters

Forget the gold stars on Hollywood pavements - there should really be a trail of them at Northland's luxury golf resort near Matauri Bay, Kauri Cliffs.

A long-running internet hoax on Friday triggered multiple false reports that United States actor Jeff Goldblum died on Friday in a tragic fall while filming a movie in New Zealand.

The actor began filming two days ago in New York with Rachel McAdams on the set of Morning Glory.

While the New Zealand-death story has remained the same throughout the years, the actors' names have varied.

In November 2006, the unlucky actor was Tom Hanks, and in 2008, Tom Cruise - both supposed to have fallen to their deaths on set. Jeff Goldblum is the latest in the trail of fictional corpses.

Unfortunately an Australian entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins relayed the news of the supposed death on Friday morning on Channel Nine's Today show.

Wilkins, a former New Zealand pop star under the name of Richard Wilde, has been caught out previously by a hoax. On April 1, 2000, he went to air with an announcement that Sydney had "lost the Olympics". In fact he had taken seriously an elaborate April Fools hoax by two Triple J radio hosts.

The viral spread of the Goldblum story triggered a flood of calls to New Zealand police, and Inspector Kerry Watson issued a statement:  "Police at Kerikeri are receiving phone calls regarding a person falling from a cliff at Kauri Cliff. There is no such incident and police have no information to provide".

The policeman did not use the blunt description applied by Tom Cruise's spokesman when that star "died": "This is erroneous and unreliable internet garbage."

The original Tom Hanks story was later traced to fakeawish.com, a site that serves as a fake news generator and allows users to plug a celebrity's name into made-up stories. A top option on the site was to plug a male celebrity's name into a "dies in New Zealand" article.

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