People Magazine Accidentally Publishes Kirk Douglas’ Obituary

Published on December 1, 2014.
Photo by Broadimage / Rex Features

Don’t worry, Kirk Douglas is in fact still alive, contrary to what People magazine would have led you to believe due to an accidental publishing.

A pre-written obituary for the ageing actor was posted on the People magazine website with a headline that clearly stated it wasn’t ready (see screenshot below).

The title read, “DO NOT PUB Kirk Douglas Dies,” and was accompanied by a picture of the actor along with a very detailed recap of his life and career.

One of the strangest things is that the original publishing for the obit says September 29, 2014 at 3pm, which means it actually could have been up for two months before it caught the attention of a reader.

The post starts off with, “Kirk Douglas, one of the few genuine box-office names to emerge just as TV was overtaking American culture in the years right after World War II, died TK TK TK. He was 97 (DOB 12/9/1916) and had been in good health despite having suffered a debilitating 1996 stroke that rendered his speech difficult.”

Clearly there are some things that need to be fixed before it is really posted, as “TK” means “to come” because obviously he isn’t dead. There are several small mistakes through the article that need adjustment in the event of his death as well.

Since being the first to publish a major story is crucial, it is common practice for media to prepare obituaries especially when someone famous is ageing or ailing but not often is the draft seen like in this blunder.

The topic quickly took hold and became trending on Twitter and while it is obviously very offensive some are finding humor in the situation, Adam Newman, a comedian tweeted, “Rest in Peace future dead Kirk Douglas who isn’t dead yet. But way to be FIRST @PeopleMag!”

People magazine has taken down the obituary and has not commented on the mistake, meanwhile the very alive Kirk Douglas is set to celebrate his 98th birthday on December 9.

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