Fact Check

Did 'Home Improvement' Actor Richard Karn Die at Age 69?

A routine review of content labeled satire.

Published Feb 15, 2021

BURBANK, CA - JUNE 10:  Actors Richard Karn and Tim Allen attend the Screen Actors Guild Foundation 4th Annual Los Angeles Golf Classic at Lakeside Golf Club on June 10, 2013 in Burbank, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Screen Actors Guild Foundation) (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Screen Actors Guild Foundation)
Image Via Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Screen Actors Guild Foundation
"Home Improvement" actor Richard Karn died at the age of 69 in 2020.

On Feb. 14, 2021, the Facebook page for America's Last Line of Defense shared a misleading news story. Its headline read: "Richard Karn, Home Improvement's 'Al Borlan' Dead At 69." The article appeared to have been originally published on June 29, 2020:

Richard Karn, who played the beloved character Al Borlan [sic]  on TV's Home Improvement, has passed away suddenly at his home in Deluth, Oklahoma. Karn, a lifelong Republican and staunch supporter of President Trump, was reportedly preparing for a reboot of the Tool Time franchise when he died.

According to sources close to the actor, Binford Tools was looking to re-capture the fame they earned in the 1990s as a leading manufacturer of American-made tools. They had offered Karn a lucrative contract to do a new version of the Home Improvement franchise, simply called "Tool Time," as the star rather than the sidekick.

Binford Vice-President Art Tubolls told The American Conservative Chronicle that Karn's death has hit the company hard.

This item was not a factual recounting of real-life events of Karn or his character Al Borland. Karn is still alive and will not turn 69 until Feb. 17, 2025. The article originated with a website that describes its output as being humorous or satirical in nature, as follows:

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site’s pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical.

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.