US film director and actor Clint Eastwood poses in Lyon, central France, Sunday Oct. 18, 2009, during the first edition of the Lumiere 2009 Film Festival. Eastwood is the guest of honour of the film festival. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

Stories of his demise are greatly exaggerated: Clint Eastwood is not dead

FactCheck November 13, 2019

The Statement

AAP FactCheck examined a link shared on Facebook on November 7, 2019 by Australian users. The link goes to a web page featuring a video announcing the supposed death of Hollywood film star Clint Eastwood. 

The video features a photo of Eastwood next to a candle flame and the words “Rest in peace 1930-2019” above the logo for US TV news network CNN. Clicking play on the video opens to a short video featuring images of Eastwood with a headline “The Actor and Filmmaker Died of Heart Attack While Directing A Movie About His Life” and a CNN Breaking News strapline, which says “1 hr ago”. The video then stops to display the message “Warning: This video may show graphic content (18+) Share to continue watching” above a tab which reads “Uncover Now”.

The link, and a near-identical version, have been shared more than 140 times by users in Australia. 

A link shared on Facebook on November 7, 2019 features a video announcing the supposed death of Hollywood film star Clint Eastwood.

The Analysis

Clint Eastwood is not dead but it isn’t the first time the Hollywood actor and director has been the subject of hoax death stories on social media and the internet. 

In May 2017, the US Leader website reported that Eastwood had been found dead in his Brentwood, California home. Fact checkers Snopes revealed the article stated that “the Orange County Sheriff” confirmed Eastwood’s death but Brentwood is in Los Angeles County, not Orange County.

In June 2017, a website designed to look like a CNN report published an article titled “Hollywood Icon And Oscar Winner Clint Eastwood Has Passed Away Age 87”. 

Hollywood actor and director Clint Eastwood has been the subject of several hoax death stories on social media.

The US-based news website Inquisitr said the website – which is not the site of US cable news giant CNN – published the report on June 18 that year, claiming Eastwood died of a heart attack.

Truth or Fiction website reported the domain for was registered to an owner in Singapore on June 6, 2017, just weeks before the Eastwood hoax went viral. “That would seem to indicate that the Clint Eastwood death hoax was a (successful) attempt to drive up the new website’s domain authority in search engine ranking algorithms using a classic clickbait celebrity death hoax,” Truth or Fiction reasoned. 

Another Eastwood death hoax circulated in August 2019. Snopes reported that similar to the 2017 story a video appearing to show a CNN news report claiming that Eastwood “had died at the age of 89 while filming a television commercial”. 

The November 7, 2019 story, investigated by AAP FactCheck was similar. Once again the post displayed a CNN logo and featured a video with the headline “The Actor and Filmmaker Died of Heart Attack While Directing A Movie About His Life”.

UK newspaper The Independent compiled a report in September 2019 titled, ‘Clint Eastwood death hoax: Why the internet keeps saying celebrities are dead when they are not’. In its analysis the newspaper said the reason why there are so many death hoaxes is that people “want people want to read them” and that like “many other things on the internet, it’s about engaging people”. 

Eastwood is filming a new movie, Richard Jewell, about a security guard who became a suspect in a pipe bombing during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. On November 10, 2019,  The Vulture website reported the Hollywood star was refusing to leave Warner Bros. studio in Burbank, California where a wildfire was forcing people to evacuate. 

The Verdict

Based on the evidence, AAP FactCheck found the Facebook post to be false. There is no evidence that a video by NOWINHOLLYWOOD.OVERSEASDAILY.COM reporting Clint Eastwood’s death is true. The veteran US actor and director was reported on November 10, 2019 to be putting the finishing touches on his latest film, Richard Jewell.  

False – The primary claims of the content are factually inaccurate. 

First published November 13, 2019, 17:32 AEDT

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