Fact Check

'Robert Duvall Killed in Fall from Cliff' Death Hoax

Robert Duvall was killed in a fall from a cliff while filming in New Zealand?

Published Nov. 16, 2006


Claim:   Actor Robert Duvall was killed in a fall from a cliff while filming in New Zealand.



[Collected via e-mail, August 2012]

Robert Duvall Falls To His Death In
New Zealand


Robert Duvall died while filming a movie in New Zealand early this morning - August 27, 2012.

Preliminary reports from New Zealand Police officials indicate that the actor fell more than 60 feet to his death on the Kauri Cliffs while on-set. Specific details are not yet available.

The accident occured at aproximatly 4:30 a.m. (UTC/GMT +12). Additional details and information will be forthcoming.

New Zealand, in recent years has grown in populariaty as a backdrop for Hollywood producers because of it's scenic and rugged landscape.

Recent movies filmed in New Zealand include The Lord Of the Rings, King Kong, and The Chronicles Of Narnia.


Origins:   Web sites such as mediafetcher.com and swellserver.com allow users to generate phony news stories about celebrities falling to their deaths from cliffs while filming their latest movies. Simply plugging the name of a celebrity into the URL used to access one of these sites will generate an article about that person's tragic demise in either Austria or New Zealand. (For example, going to https://tom.hanks.swellserver.com/news/top_stories/actor_new_zealand.asp produces an article about Tom Hanks' death today from a New Zealand cliff fall.)

Every few months another one of these faux user-generated articles is circulated on the Internet to fool the unwary, generating a brief but intense death hoax for the named actor. In August 2012, the latest "victim" of this form of hoax was actor Robert Duvall, who remains alive and well.

Last updated:   27 August 2012


    Sheridan, Michael.   "Jeff Goldblum, Harrison Ford Dead? Fake News Stories Make Dire Claims."

    [New York] Daily News.   26 June 2009.

    Young, Phil.   "Jackson Death Sparks Rumours."

    The [Tasmania] Mercury.   26 June 2009.

    Reuters.   "Tom Cruise Death Report Is 'Erroneous Garbage.'"

    16 October 2008.

    New York Post.   "Russell Crowe Alive and Well."

    11 June 2010.

    Stuff.co.nz.   "Jeff Goldblum Alive."

    26 June 2009.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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