At CNN, we are increasingly called upon to see if there's any truth to the celebrity death rumors that often swirl around cyberspace. Just this past Sunday one of them crossed my desk. James Avery, who played "Uncle Phil" on "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," had died, according to a rumor on Twitter.
I fired off an email to his publicist, Cynthia Snyder, and within a couple of hours she confirmed that Avery was "indeed alive and well – just had a lovely wedding anniversary get away and chuckled at the hoax. He just completed a project with Alfonso Ribeiro [another "Fresh Prince" alum] directing."
But when I caught up with Avery at the premiere of the remake of "The Karate Kid," he definitely wasn't "chuckling."
"Did you see that on Twitter?" he asked. "I don't even know where it came from. Pissed me off, I know that. I mean, really, they're going to take away what little career I have left. My mother was scared. See, I don't understand this whole Twitter, Facebook stuff. I don't get it. Make a phone call. Talk to somebody."
It's yet another example of how the echo chamber of the Internet can magnify falsehoods and innuendos, and a reminder of the real impact rumors have on people's lives.
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Can I just say what a aid to seek out someone who really is aware of what theyre speaking about on the internet. You undoubtedly know methods to carry an issue to mild and make it important. Extra people have to learn this and perceive this aspect of the story. I cant consider youre no more fashionable because you positively have the gift.
Can I just say what a elimination toward locate a name who in reality knows what theyre talking about on the the web. You unquestionably know how to bring an matter to glow and make it important. Extra people have to to read this plus understand this side of the story. I cant consider youre not extra well-liked since you certainly contain the gift.
Hmm… I read blogs on a similar topic, but i never visited your blog. I added it to favorites and i’ll be your constant reader.
Phew! that's a load off of my mind, now i can sleep at night. i'm just joking, i understand where he is coming from.
I think it's because he bears a striking resemblance to the Isley Brother that recently passed
I thought he died years ago.
Best phrase of the day.................... PEOPLE ARE HUMAN!! hahaha
Alive or dead it's NOT NICE TO MAKE FUN OF PEOPLE AT ALL PEOPLE ARE HUMAN!!!!!
This has 4chan's /b/ written all over it.
Maybe he is a zombie now. Wear a hat and protect your delicious brain!
Rest in Peace James Avery. You were a fine actor and will be sorely missed.
Wait...............Oh they didn't mean he was dead.........they meant his career was dead!! that's more like it. It's probably the best press he's gotten in years so don't whine!!
I agree with Alex and MLF. Mr. Avery has done wonderful things with his career. He is a classy, interesting, and a good actor.
I do not believe posting on some stupid networking site that he is dead is respectful to him or to the rest of us. Do not spread silly rumors!
You go Mr. Avery!
What's this guy whining about? Abe Vigoda has to hold some sort of record as the man most reported dead even though he's alive and kicking. Well, I don't know about the kicking part. Seriously, start typing "Abe Vigoda..." into google and it autcompletes "Abe Vigoda dead or alive"
lol! that is awsome, and you are right. I am going to do just that.
I guess this is why CNN news sucks so bad. They are running around checking to see if people are dead or not. How about hiring an editor that can read english.
I am just HAPPY Mr. Avery is Alive and well. And I wish him many more decades of the same!
He got his publicity for his new project, reminded people of what he had done in the past, gotta have'em buzzin' about you... The little boy cries wolf again... When someone really needs to reach out, will we all become so callous to these incessant cries for attention that we will no longer recognize authenticity and honesty.
R.I.P James Avery....you will be missed :(
Mark... you are right on!! What better way to get publicity than to have an "unknown" person spread the death word over Twitter. I would really like to know who started the rumor, though. I wonder how many other rumors get started that don't take.
I thought that guy died 10 years ago. Oh well.
Sad, lots of these sitcom stars seem to die once their respective shows go off the air and you don't hear from them again. Must suck.
Why would someone start a death rumor like this? Nothing better to do than sit at home and make sh-t up up?
"The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated".
-- Mark Twain
Yeah, we're living in a geek world. We've all become those geeks sitting a dark room facebooking and that crazy stuff like those we used to laugh at, you knwo those that were afraid to go out and talk, hang out with, play, have fun with PEOPLE...so the created this whole facebook thing and now every fool is on there. Instead of fackbooking about face to face with real friends.
You're all morons for falling for the oldest publicity stunt in the book! Look, it got his name on the internet, a picture of him in perfect health, and all you knuckleheads talking about him. His publicist should be given a medal, and all of you should be hit with a "Stupid Tax" for falling for it!
Twitter is beginning to sound like the cyberspace equivalent of the tabloids at the checkout counter. One is trash, the other is becoming trash.
I didn't even know he was sick. RIP James A.
I consider myself to be very techno savy, but I refuse to participate in anything that involves facebook or twitter. Nothing more than crap, plain and simple crap!
But strangely, here you are posting comments on a blog regarding celebrity gossip. My how "above" it all you are.
People like to slam that which they don't understand. I have touched base with a lot of my old friends using facebook that i would not have had a chance to simply using a telephone. It's a tool, you can use it, you can abuse it, or you can leave it in the box...
Still reminds me of the David Letterman episode when he first moved to CBS from NBC and claimed Larry "Bud" Melman had died and Bud comes on stage and says, "I'm not dead you moron!"
Before you start slamming someone for their "dying" career, take a look at your own career. Have you been a working, paid actor for more than 30 years? Are you a voice of a robot in the upcoming Transformers 3 movie? Do you even know how to begin a movie/TV career? Well, Mr. Avery, as far as I can tell, has had a very sucessful career. One many struggling actors would give their right arm for. Also...how would you like it if someone posted on the internet that you were dead? How would your family react when they heard it on the news and on Yahoo? I agree with Mr. Avery. A phone call to his agent BEFORE the posting would have cleared up whether he was in fact deceased. And for the record, I use Twitter, FB, and many methods of social networking and I would never take what I see posted up on those sites as a statement of fact. Every site has been hacked and has had privacy issues. That is public knowledge. Unedited chatter on the internet is not to be taken seriously. The rude comments posted above about Mr. Avery are just plain hurtful and ignorant.
That is so true.
You said it mister! Anyone who thinks that twitter and facebook are the only ways to communicate, should take a deep breath and wedge themselves out of their computer chair (or put down their handheld devices while driving), blink a couple of times and re-engage their brain...if it is still in there.
Well it's official, CNN is now the Enquirer. The first sentence of the article is a confession, not a statement.
Sorry to see he passed away of rectal cancer from taking it so roughly all these years. :)
Really... you think Twitter is to the telephone what the telephone was to letters? You need to get out of your Mom's basement and from behind your computer screen. Fresh air will do you well.
It's been great publicity for him, why is he mad? I forgot he existed until this. It was probably his publicist starting the Twitter rumor to get some much needed publicity to his career.
Facetwit is for the birds. If you want to know what or how I am doing, contact me. Don't expect me to slap it on a billboard along the highway. I refuse to give up my intellectual property rights and privacy just to satisfy the desires of an anonymously voy.euristic society.
I liked him on Fresh Prince, and wish I'd see him more.
I think Jazz figured out how to use Twitter...
He "didn't even know where that came from" Yeah, that's the ticket...if not for the death rumors, do you ever think ANYONE would have heard of his "recently completed project?"
Dammit, I LOVED him on Deep Space Nine!
(Countdown to Avery Brooks death rumors...5...4...3...2...)
Sounds like his world got turned upside down.
I believe you mean "got flipped turned upside down." :)
Comments from people above only shows today's society ignorance. Congratulations to mr Avery for his clever words and for his talent.
RIP Avery Brooks 1949-2010
The Buddy Hackett episode of 'Lateline' from the 90s – funniest ever. Built around report that Hackett had died. Some politico told a touching story. But he wasn't dead. The last shot was an 'In Memory of' credit screen to Hackett, and you hear him cursing and threatening lawsutis and stuff. Brilliant. James should set that up on a sitcom or a youtube. Viral gold.
I still can't believe Scott Baio died, and now THIS!?
Don't do pot! Marijuana kills.
The only way to put a clamp on this stuff is there needs to be legal accountability against the people who post false rumors. Avery should be allowed, and able, to sue the original Twitter poster into oblivion. I'm a professional journalist and if I print errors, especially of this nature, I expect to be sued. Twitter is loaded with wanna-be journalists with no concept of libel, fact-checking, or editorial oversight, and it's time for them to be put in their place. Use Twitter to spread news by all means - new media, yippie! - but be correct in what you post. And if you're just posting nonsense thinking you're anonymous, then it's time for that to stop. The fact people are questioning Avery's "make a phone call" statement shows how clueless they are. IF YOU DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO VERIFICATION SOURCES - doesn't matter if it's by phone, e-mail, or carrier pigeon - DON'T POST THE INFORMATION.
Right on Alex.....
Well said Alex...
Its also commonly called "libel."
Same thing happened a few months back to Canadian singer Gordon Lightfoot, again originating on Twitter. He heard it on his car radio coming back to the office from his dentist. What bothered him was the impact it had on his family (his youngest is 13 and heard it in school! She was understandably freaked, especially as he'd had a real near-death experience in 2002.) He had to make a lot of phone calls fast to reassure his loved ones that it wasn't true, and his office manager had her hands full for days.
He died the day they took Fresh Prince of the air.
Sometimes I think TMZ is being quicker and more accurate than CNN.
It really annoys me when people pull the "I'm an idiot, and I don't understand" card and then get angry because they aren't willing to LEARN. Maybe his career wouldn't be in the toilet if he would learn that the meteoric rise of social networking is bringing celebrities and their careers along with it. Get with the program in the 21st century or be prepared to ride your horse and buggy off into the sunset.
Idiot....Your opinion is why things are so divisive in America.
I don't think he said he was an idiot. If this really annoys you I would hate to see what really makes you angry. Not everyone keeps up to date with every technological advances society makes. It doesn't make them an idiot. You are the idiot!
Obviously he knows about Twitter since he asked the guy if he saw the rumor there.
If he doesn't want to use twitterm, he doesn't have to, especially since his business would be in the street. What an immature and insensitive remark.
I know it might be hard to understand, but social networking doesn't mean @#%$ to most people. Don't let it make you so angry.
"Immature and insensitive."
"You're opinion is why things are so divisive in America."
Clearly Obama supporters sucking up their welfare checks and clapping their hands like monkeys that they now get "free healthcare" because they're too stupid to realize it isn't FREE. THAT is why our country is in trouble, not someone using the word "idiot." Worry about your kids' food stamps and not someone voicing their opinion.
By the way, social networking IS VERY IMPORTANT if you are in the entertainment industry. If you had a real job instead of sucking off the government, you'd know that.
Ah.. okay... so all the folks that have jobs, aren't on welfare don't support Obama. We also don't support free health care. We're clapping our hands so stupidly. Wow, what a waste!!
News flash: The country elected Obama on a majority. The 9% of the nation that is unemployed can't possibly be all the folks that voted for Obama or support his care.
Also, no one ever said free health care. Not even Obama. He just said his goal is to cover every american, and if necessary, offer subsidies to help those who can't quite afford health insurance pay for it.
You are definitely part of the reason America is not doing so well as well, pal.
We'll never forget ole whats his name.....
Make a call, um, okay, your number please? And if you don't answer, can we go back to the claim you're dead?
They were not talking about him... they were talking about his career!! no seriously... LOL...
His career is hardly "in the toilet", as you can see on his IMDb page:
He's staying VERY active.
Old actors never die...they just get Twittered'....
That's funny...true, but funny
RIP James! You will be missed. GONE TOO SOON!
"See, I don't understand this whole Twitter, Facebook stuff. I don't get it. Make a phone call."
Hmmm...I wonder how many people said the same thing about telephones decades ago...
"See, I don't understand this whole telephone stuff. I don't get it. Write a letter".
The problem with these internet social websites is that many people use their anonymity to get extremely abusive. The blogosphere is filled with e-bullies who have not only made civil discussion next to impossible, but they have also dumbed down the participants. And the rumor-mill is exponentially more active with the internet. Avery's comments are disturbingly accurate. Comparing the negative impact of the internet on our society to the telephone is ludicrous. The internet is the closest thing to anarchy this planet has seen since the last Ice Age.
The difference being that telephone versus mail puts a person directly in touch with someone, therefore advancing communication and narrowing the margins for miscommunication. Twitter is a step in the opposite direction, closer to writing letters again. Phone calls = direct communication between parties with back and forth ability. Twitter = one way communication, just as much a backwards step as letter writing, just faster . . .
He probably meant using the telephone to call someone like his publicist. The telephone is much more limited in the sense of a widespread rumormill social networking sites seem to thrive off of.
I agree with you to a point. Technology is advancing and people should embrace new things. The problem is now, that with Twitter and Facebook, some people then to type before they think and next thing you know its out in the world. Now these people have to back peddle and that information is stored on a hard drive or backup tape forever to bite you in the a$$ later in life.
Why are you hatin' on the guy for say that. It's a mean rumor that went around and he has every right to be ticked off. Get over yourself already.
VERY CLEVER Indeed you are. Almost laughed out loud.
i don't think anyone said that about the telephone. the telephone revolutionized the way we communicate and helped our nation grow. becoming facebook friends with a person you knew in gradeschool so they can stay updated about when you go number two is slightly different.
Letters, phone, and emails are forms of communication between people. Social networking sites are not. They are just childish forums for people to facelessly throw whatever useless bull**** they want to out into the ether, hoping desparately that some anonymous person will read it and think they're important. Of course, now they are shameless corporate marketing tools as well, making them even more pathetic. America needs to grow the f*** up, and stop thinking that every techno trend is a new or revolutionary way of doing things. It's that kind of thinking that's destroyed education, music, and culture in the US. We are an increasingly juvenille society, and it's going to take us all down.
See, I completely understand his sentiment. I'm a Computer Geek and am currently going to school for Computer Support and I don't have a Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, LiveJournal, or any other Social Networking account either. They are completely unnessicary. If people are too D*** lazy to pick up a phone and call a friend or loved one to see how they are doing then I personally pity those people. I believe that because people spend so much time online and texting that you lose the true nuiance of interpersonal relationships. Conversations can be influenced not only by the words we use but the tone in which it is delivered. No such things can be divined from text-based communications. This is why I personally talk to all the people that I care about over the phone or face to face. I don't even hardly e-mail anyone anymore unless it's for work purposes.
Your comment is ignorant. You see, the invention of the telephone did not supplant the need to write a letter. Email did. Tweeting is not a replacement for calling someone. It's a messaging system for replacing, yet again, the need to write a letter.
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