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Pop Quiz: Celebrity Urban Legends
Did Fidel Castro once try out for the Washington Senators baseball team? Was Frank Zappa the son of Captain Kangaroo's Mr. Green Jeans? What famous movie star was also an inventor and holder of a patent on a torpedo guidance system? Test your knowledge!
About that Thing with Richard Gere and the Gerbil...
I don't mean to sound cranky, but all too often when I tell folks I debunk urban legends, the first question that pops out of their mouths is: "What about that thing with Richard Gere and the gerbil? Is THAT true?"
Al Sharpton Blasts Tiger Woods
Forwarded email quotes Rev. Al Sharpton criticizing professional golfer Tiger Woods for his "lack of mistress diversity."
Ann Coulter Refuses to Board Plane with Black Pilot?
"News article" shared via social media claims conservative pundit Ann Coulter refused to board a commercial airline flight after learning the pilot was African American.
Ben Stein: Christmas Confessions
Circulating via email, a commentary on the state of American culture attributed to author and game show host Ben Stein.
Ben Stein's Last Column
Circulating via email, Ben Stein's final column for E! Online, a piece published in December 2003 entitled "How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?"
Bill Cosby: Write-in Platform for President
Circulating online, a "presidential platform" attributed to "write-in candidate" Bill Cosby. He did not write it.
Bette Midler Letter to President Bush on Gay Marriage
A widely circulated email criticizing President Bush's stance on gay marriage is falsely attributed to singer Bette Midler.
Bill Gates' 11 Rules of Life
Circulating via email, the text of a speech allegedly given by Bill Gates in which he sets out 11 rules of life for today's high school students.
Bill Gates Is the Antichrist!
It all adds up... to 666.
Boycott Dame Edna!
Email petition decries ethnically insensitive remarks about Hispanics in a satirical Vanity Fair column called "Ask Dame Edna."
Britney Spears Is Dead .. Oops, Nevermind!
False reports of the deaths of singers Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake run rampant on the Internet
The Celebrity Heckler
'If you think you can do better, come on up here!' says Grand Funk Railroad's guitarist to a booing audience member. To his chagrin, the heckler turns out to be Eric Clapton...
Celebrity Stomach Pump
Did you hear that (Insert Name of Rock Star Here) collapsed onstage and had to be rushed to the emergency room, where a pint of semen was pumped from his/her stomach?
Charlie Daniels on Illegal Immigration
Forwarded email combines two op-ed pieces written by country singer Charlie Daniels on the hot topic of illegal immigration and what should be done about it.
Charlie Daniels: Open Letter to the Hollywood Bunch
Circulating by email: Acrimonious open letter to antiwar celebrities penned by prowar celebrity Charlie Daniels. It's authentic.
Ciara's Sex-Change Operation
Internet rumors are flying to the effect that hip-hop/R&B star Ciara was born a man and is either a transvestite or underwent a sex-change operation to become a transsexual
Churchill, Farmer Fleming and Penicillin
Did the son of a Scottish farmer who allegedly saved the life of the young Winston Churchill grow up to become the inventor of penicillin, which supposedly saved the life of the adult Churchill many years later?
Cindy Williams vs. Military Pay Raise
Did actress Cindy Williams, one of the stars of "Laverne and Shirley," pen an editorial decrying military pay increases?
Is David Bowie Really Davy Jones of the Monkees?
A reader writes: 'When I was in junior high school in Huntsville, Alabama, the story going around was that David Bowie was really Davy Jones of the Monkees... after he had been in a car wreck and needed extensive plastic surgery!'
'Clothes' by Maya Angelou
"Poem" purportedly written by Maya Angelou criticizes African Americans for buying clothing manufactured by allegedly racist companies.
Denzel Washington Funded a Fisher House for Military Families
Email rumor claims actor Denzel Washington, after visiting a charity-funded 'Fisher House' provided for families of hospitalized American soldiers, wrote a check on the spot for the full amount to build a new one.
Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep Interview w/Katie Couric
Circulating via email: embellished version of a politically-charged TV interview hosted by Katie Couric and featuring 'Manchurian Candidate' stars Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep.
Did Eminem Die in a Car Crash?
Web hoax claims famed rapper Eminem died in a car crash in December 2000
Don Rickles Roasts Democrats
Circulating via email, a comedy bit attributed to Don Rickles roasting well-known Democrats Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and others.
Eddie Murphy Mistaken for a Robber (The Elevator Story)
New email versions of this decades-old urban legend have both Eddie Murphy and Michael Jordan scaring the heck out of white folks on hotel elevators.
Frances Bavier (Aunt Bea on The Andy Griffith Show)
Viral image purportedly shows the young Frances Bavier (the actress who played Aunt Bea on the Andy Griffith Show) as a pin-up model.
George Carlin: Bad American?
This politically incorrect email rant is attributed to famed comedian George Carlin. Some parts sound like him, but did he really write it?
Fw: GINGER ROGERS AT 92
Viral video purports to show the legendary Ginger Rogers salsa dancing at age 92 with her great-grandson.
George Carlin's Hurricane Rules
A sarcastic rant purportedly authored by comedian George Carlin (or New Orleans musician Bill Boudreux, depending on version) outlining "rules" for coping in the aftermath of a hurricane.
George Carlin's Solution to Save Gasoline
Statement falsely attributed to comedian George Carlin says the best way to cut down on gasoline consumption in the U.S. is to deport 11 million illegal immigrants
Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky
What Neil Armstrong really said when he first set foot on the moon?
The Good Samaritan
Bill Gates handsomely rewards a man for helping him fix a flat tire. So does Donald Trump, Perry Como, Mrs. Nat King Cole...
'Hanoi Jane' Fonda
Email rumors allege that Fonda purposely betrayed U.S. POWs in Vietnam to their captors.
Hillary vs. Arnold
Did Hillary Clinton and Arnold Schwarzenegger exchange insulting witticisms during a chance encounter at a party?
Hunter Thompson: 'Where Thieves and Pimps Run Free...'
In which we attempt to nail down the origin of a quote attributed to Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson and ascertain which of the many versions - if any - is authentic.
Hugh Downs: Obama Will Lose
Circulating online, an op-ed piece falsely attributed to Hugh Downs predicts Barack Obama will lose the 2008 presidential election because he is a "flake."
JFK: "I am a Jelly Donut"
Was John F. Kennedy's 1963 "Ich bin ein Berliner" comment at the Berlin Wall a linguistic flub?
Jaleel White ('Steve Urkel') Is Dead!
Bogus news story circulating via email claims actor Jaleel White, who played Steve Urkel on the TV show "Family Matters," is dead by suicide.
Jamie Foxx: NBC Refuses to Publicize All-Black TV Special
Email rumor claims NBC refused to promote Jamie Foxx's January 25, 2006 TV special, "Unpredictable," because no white entertainers were invited to guest star on the show.
Janet Reno Defines 'Cultist'
Did Janet Reno suggest on national TV that virtually all practicing Christians are cultists?
Jennifer Lopez's Billion Dollar Booty
From the mailbag: "Dear Guide: Is it true that Jennifer Lopez insured her butt?"
Is John Dillinger's Preserved Willie on Display at the Smithsonian?
Dear Guide: I believe I read an article by Robert Anton Wilson a ways back regarding the Smithsonian or some D.C. museum housing private parts of famous people - John Dillinger, for example. Is there any truth to this folklore?
Jane Fonda: 'Do You Know Who I Am?'
A story circulating since the mid-1990s claims Jane Fonda and Ted Turner were kicked out of a Montana restaurant by its owner, a Vietnam veteran.
Jennifer Aniston Email
The truth about a set of photos (sorry, not posted here) taken at the christening of Courteney Cox Arquette's baby, allegedly emailed by Jennifer Aniston.
Johnnie Cochran's Headstone
Circulating via email: a photo purporting to show the headstone of famed lawyer Johnnie Cochran. The inscription reads: "O.J. DID IT."
Kurtis the Stock Boy and Brenda the Checkout Girl
Circulating online since 2002, the partly-true story of Kurt Warner, a grocery store stock boy who married a check-out girl named Brenda and adopted her two children, then went on to become a famous NFL quarterback.
Jon Heder ('Napoleon Dynamite') Is Dead
Phony Web page published in 2005 claims that "Naploeon Dynamite" star Jon Heder died in a car crash in Oregon.
Kurt Vonnegut: 'Wear Sunscreen'
The commencement address that never was.
Lee Marvin & Bob (Captain Kangaroo) Keeshan
In a story supposedly told by actor Lee Marvin on The Tonight Show years ago, he recalls serving in combat with fellow U.S. Marine Bob Keeshan, whom he called "the bravest man I ever knew."
Lou Reed Is Dead?
Nah, it's just another Internet hoax – one that fooled several radio stations before they caught on.
Megan Fox Is a Man
Internet rumors claim voluptuous actress Megan Fox is either a man in drag (transvestite), a transsexual ("tranny"), or was born a hermaphrodite and underwent surgery to become a woman.
Magic Johnson Is in a Coma, Near Death
Hoax email purporting to be a 'news item' from CNN claims famed basketball player Earvin 'Magic' Johnson is in a coma and dying in a Los Angeles hospital.
Martha Raye in Vietnam
Circulating via email and social media, a purported first-person account of entertainer Martha Raye helping to transport and treat wounded soldiers in the field during a 1967 USO tour in Vietnam.
Mel Gibson: Real-Life Man Without a Face?
Film about a disfigured teacher was allegedly based on Mel Gibson's own life.
Michael Richards' Self Defense
Circulating via email, a racist rant purportedly delivered by actor/comedian Michael Richards as his 'defense speech in court' for shouting racial epithets at black audience members during a 2006 incident at an L.A. comedy club
Mel Gibson Movie Blames Jews for Christ's Death (2003)
(2003) Rumor has it that Mel Gibson secretly harbors anti-Semitic sentiments and that his upcoming film "The Passion of the Christ" blames Jews for the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.
Michael Moore vs. Bill Timmins on the Firing of Linda Ronstadt
Purported exchange of open letters between Michael Moore and Aladdin Casino and Hotel president Bill Timmins regarding the expulsion of singer Linda Ronstadt from the Las Vegas showplace.
Monica Lewinsky Explains Post-Clinton Weight Loss
Here's what the former White House intern purportedly said on Larry King Live... and evidence that she didn't.
Morgan Freeman on Connecticut Shootings?
Comments blaming the "sensationalist media" for the Dec. 14, 2012 mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut are falsely attributed to actor Morgan Freeman.
Mr. Rogers Was a Marine Sniper / Navy Seal
Was Fred Rogers, longtime host of the children's TV show "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood," a trained sharpshooter with dozens of wartime kills to his credit as a Marine sniper or Navy Seal?
Pat Boone: CBS and 60 Minutes Are 'Modern Benedict Arnolds'
Did Pat Boone call CBS and 60 Minutes II "modern Benedict Arnolds" for their role in revealing the prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq?
Penus Van Lesbian
Heartwarming tale of a talented young man who overcame his tragic christening to become a wealthy and famous TV personality.
Phil Mickelson's Gambling Debts
Did pro golfer Phil Mickelson really rack up a $200,000 debt betting on his own performance in a practice round against three other players?
R. Lee Ermey Death Notice
Forwarded email purports to announce the death of retired USMC Staff Sgt. and "Full Metal Jacket" actor R. Lee Ermey.
Robin Williams Paid Christopher Reeve's Medical Bills
Rumor circulating since 1996 claims that comedian Robin Williams, lifelong friend of actor Christopher Reeve, promised to pay all the medical bills resulting from the accident that left Reeve paralyzed.
Robin Williams' Plan for Peace
Sarcastic "peace plan" circulating by email since March 2003 is falsely attributed to comedian Robin Williams.
Ronald Reagan: Grace Under the Scalpel
"I hope you're all Republicans," said the president to the surgeons. Or did he?
Rumors of Celebrity Deaths Greatly Exaggerated
More reasons not to believe everything you read on the Internet.
Rush Limbaugh on Compensation of 9/11 Victims vs. Military Families
Short text attributed to Rush Limbaugh points out the unfairness of 9/11 victims' families being paid greater benefits than family members of American military personnel killed in action.
Serena Williams Interview
Circulating via email: a purported interview with black tennis star Serena Williams in which she says dating white men is preferable to dating black men.
Shakira's Anti-Israeli Slur
Did Latin American pop star Shakira really refer to Israelis as "pigs" during an MTV interview?
Snoop Dogg Converts to Mormonism
Text of Web hoax featuring a fake CNN news story claiming that rapper Snoop Dogg is converting to the Mormon faith.
Is Steve Burns (the Blue's Clues Guy) Really Dead?
Did Steve Burns die of a drug overdose? Nope, he's alive and well. Internet rumors prove false once again...
Tom Hanks' Father: Lead Singer of The Diamonds?
Viral message circulating via email and Facebook claims Tom Hanks' father was an original member and lead singer of the Top 40 vocal group The Diamonds in the 1950s.
Steven Spielberg Letter to Mel Gibson
Circulating via email, a letter purportedly written by Steven Spielberg taking actor Mel Gibson to task for making anti-Semitic remarks during his arrest for drunk driving in August 2006.
Steven Spielberg to Make Film on the Crusades
Forwarded email claims Jewish filmmaker Steven Spielberg has announced he will make a gory movie about atrocities committed by Christians during the Crusades in response to Mel Gibson's allegedly anti-Semitic film, "The Passion of the Christ."
Did Tom Jones Insure His Chest Hair?
It must be true - I read it in the tabloids: singer and heartthrob Tom Jones has insured his graying chest hair for a cool $7 million.
Tiger Woods Inauguration Speech
Email flier quotes golfer Tiger Woods' speech during a pre-inaugural ceremony for President Obama on January 18, 2009 and praises him for saluting the nation's military instead of the President-elect himself.
Tommy Hilfiger: Racist?
Did the hippest fashion designer of the '80s really say those horrible things on Oprah Winfrey's show?
Top 10 Celebrity Responses to Fake Death Reports
Our selection of the best celebrity responses to false Internet death notices.
Will Ferrell Is Dead
March 2006 Web hoax declares comic actor Will Ferrell dead as a result of a paragliding accident.
William Hung Dead of Heroin Overdose
According to Internet rumors, American Idol reject William Hung was found dead of an intentional heroin overdose in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Wonderful World of Disney
Legends about the amazing man who made a fortune off a cartoon mouse.
Of Party Poopers, Colo-Rectal Gerbils and Other Tales...
Salon Magazine's Catherine Seipp investigates "Hollywood urban legends" in their natural environs, Tinseltown.