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Golden Girls Star Rue McClanahan’s Death Goes Viral Five Years After It Happened

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This Thursday saw an outpouring of tributes and condolences over social media for actress Rue McClanahan. Facebook and Twitter were flooded with “We will miss you” and “RIP” messages for the actress, best known for playing Blanche Devereaux in hit TV show The Golden Girls.

The only problem? McClanahan died five years ago. As CBS News pointed out, many people did not actually bother to check the date on the obituary from June 3, 2010, before sharing it widely and prompting an unexpected spike in traffic on the story.

What is even stranger is that this is not the first time McClanahan’s passing has gone viral years after it took place. The same thing happened, inexplicably, on June 10 last year.

As is customary across social media, there were more than a few users who didn’t fall for it gleefully making fun of those who did.

Veteran Actors Before They Were Stars

Betty White
Betty White One of White’s earliest television roles was as a co-host on a live variety show called Hollywood on Television in 1949. More than 60 years later, White is now in The Guinness World Records as the female entertainer with the longest television career.NBCUniversal/Getty Images
Dench As Ophelia
Judi Dench Before having to deal with James Bond’s oft-infuriating antics as the first female to play “M,” Dench spent most of her career gracing the stages of British theater and television.Jimmy Sime—Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Christopher Lloyd The time traveler with the iconic static cling hair landed his first movie gig as a psychiatric patient in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but he spent most of his early career in the spotlight as an ex-hippie cabbie named “Reverend” Jim Ignatowski on the sitcom Taxi.NBC/Getty Images
Harvard University Crimson
Tommy Lee Jones The man in black’s first film role was as a Harvard student in Love Story (1970), but he didn’t have to pretend to be an ivy leaguer -- he was one. Jones graduated with a B.A. in English from Harvard and was also an offensive guard on the school’s undefeated 1968 varsity football team.Harvard/Collegiate Images/Getty Images
Robert De Niro In 'Taxi Driver'
Robert De Niro De Niro had several roles in minor films in the 60s, before making his mark on Hollywood playing Vito Corleone in The Godfather: Part II.Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Michael Caine
Michael Caine It takes decades of acting experience in order to be able to babysit eccentric billionaires with a penchant for wearing black. Born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, the British actor would adopt the stage name “Michael Scott” and finally “Michael Caine” in the 1950s when he toured the various theaters in England to start off his career.Popperfoto/Getty Images
Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep The perennial Oscar contender’s first feature film was Julia (1977), but it was her performance in The Deer Hunter (1978) in the following year that landed Streep her first, of many, Academy Award nominations.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Helen Mirren A mainstay in British theater for much of her career, one of Mirren’s earliest film roles was as Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1968).David Farrell—Getty Images
1964. British stage and screen actress Lynn Redgrave and actor Ian McKellen in a scene from "Sunday out of Season".
Ian McKellen The wizard in white spent much of his early career on the stage becoming a fixture in British theater, but it wasn’t until the 1990s when he began to garner attention from a wider audience for his roles in films such as Six Degrees of Separation (1993).Popperfoto/Getty Images
Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith Before she was the head of Gryffindor House, Maggie Smith honed her craft in British theaters like the prestigious Royal National Theatre.Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Saturday Night Live
Bill Murray The party crashing ghostbuster got his start on television as a cast member on the short-lived ABC variety show Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell in 1975, before joining NBC’s Saturday Night Live in 1977.NBCUniversal/Getty Images

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Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com