Kirk Douglas already knows how his death will be reported, because People magazine is already reporting it.
The article appeared on its website Sunday with the words “DO NOT PUB,” in the headline. Variety has an image of the web post on its website.
The article was taken down later Sunday. Douglas, Variety says, turns 98 next week.
As Variety notes, it’s not uncommon for publications or news services to write obituaries of celebrities or important figures in advance. And a couple have seen the light of day before it was time.
People itself started the legend of TV and movie actor Abe Vigoda, whom it referred to as “the late Abe Vigoda” in 1982, Variety says. Vigoda remains alive to this day, and a website, abevigoda.com, has long been dedicated to telling people whether he is alive or dead.
Bloomberg made a similar gaffe, Variety notes, when it said in 2008 Steve Jobs had died, three years before the Apple co-founder’s actual 2011 passing.
Kirk Douglas: not dead yet, but @peoplemag must think he’s close http://t.co/uh9tGjbpxa pic.twitter.com/Ej1UXBWIaE
— Evan Smith (@evanasmith) December 1, 2014