When Michael Jackson died on June 25, it took about five minutes before some looney Internet junkie started blogging about how he's really not dead, he's just hiding. That's right, he faked his own death "to escape the crushing pressures of life in a fishbowl." (Thanks for the quote, Derek Klontz, "herbalist, author and journalist of international reach.")
But, of course, as anyone (who's completely certifiably insane and has seen Death Becomes Her too many times) can tell you, MJ wasn't the first celebrity to grow tired of all that fame and money and attention and decide to check out with a forged death certificate.
Here's a tribute to some of the others, wherever they're holed up.
Alleged Death: C'mon, do you really think the King of Rock 'n' Roll died on a toilet (like
Danny Glover almost did in Lethal Weapon 2)? Hell no. There was no drug overdose. The King hated drugs. He was just burned out on the music biz, sick of performing, didn't get the whole disco thing, and wanted to spend more time pursuing his passion—law enforcement. So, naturally, he faked his own death.
Current Age: 74
Where he is now: Believe it or not, our sources tell us Elvis is still in Memphis, living in a subterranean lair hundreds of feet below Graceland. Out of this secret installation, he carries on the work President Nixon charged him with during his visit to the White House in 1970: He's a Federal Agent At-Large (very large, these days, with all those peanut butter 'n' banana sandwiches) in a clandestine division of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Apparently, he vacations in—no joke—Las Vegas, which provides the perfect cover with all those Elvis impersonators. In fact, one of Paste's deep-cover reporters recently ran into old E at a Burger King not far from the strip. Halfway through his large fries, he turned to our man and said, "Could ya please pass the ketchup?"
Alleged Death: Drive-by shooting after the Tyson/Seldon bout in 1996. Things were getting a little too hot with the Southside Crips for Tupac's tastes. This staged drive-by was to throw them off his trail, so he could go into hiding and begin leading a normal life, free from the fear of gang violence.
Current Age: 38
Where he is now: Once one of the most respected rappers in the game, Shakur's trade is still words. He's been living in a pilapa in rural Honduras, ghostwriting poetry books and lyrics for pretty much every rapper who's done anything decent in the last decade. He also produced the following short film under a pseudonym: Tupac is Not Dead.
Alleged Death: Cardiac arrest, possibly drug-induced.
Current Age: 50
Where he is now: The King of Pop is actually living with his favorite zebra and his famous sequined glove in former child star Corey Feldman's basement, where he pretends he's a life-sized action figure belonging to Corey. Sure, MJ had that luxury ranch, but after a while, he realized that he just preferred the dank anonymity of his old pal's basement, so he faked his own death to avoid all the bothersome tabloid coverage, and now he just hangs out down there until Corey takes him out to play tea party.
Jonathan Brandis and Roy Scheider
Alleged Deaths: Suicide; cancer. Cha, right.
Current Ages: 33; 76.
Where they are now: For years, while Scheider made less-than-stellar appearances in B movies like Jaws and The French Connection, his career seemed like it was going nowhere. But then came salvation in the form of acclaimed TV series seaQuest DSV, where—along with teen-heartthrob co-star Jonathan Brandis (who also starred alongside Chuck Norris in the classic coming-of-age film Sidekicks)—he finally realized his true potential, and along the way discovered a secret that would forever change his and Brandis' lives. During a shoot for seaQuest, animal co-star Darwin the Dolphin (whom they could communicate with on the show), actually began speaking with them when other cast and crew were not present. Paste's powerhouse investigative division, which, smartly, had several deep-cover reporters hiding under tarps on set, was able to break the news that Darwin told Scheider and Brandis (also a member of the famed "27 Club") that they had been chosen by Lord Quintron of the planet Vaxstar 9 to spend the rest of their lives entertaining the citizens of the Lost City of Atlantis. Though no explanation was given, Brandis' departure date was in 2003, and Scheider's in 2008. Now, the former co-stars have finally been reunited, and—after riding Darwin the Dolphin's back straight through a wormhole somewhere inside the New Jersey Parallelogram—are living the fine life, running a theater company in Atlantis.
Editor's Note: This entry was not supposed to be included in this list, but Paste Music Sales Director Nate Douglas (with a look in his eyes reminiscent of Jack Nicholson's freakiest scenes in The Shining) forced me to write it while he held a box cutter to my throat. "OK, fine on Scheider," I said, trying to compromise with him. "But why Brandis?" ... "Anyone," he said, "who can speak to dolphins and fight with Chuck Norris is obviously immortal."
Alleged Death: Famed airline hijacker Cooper supposedly fell to his death after jumping out of an airplane strapped with $200,000 in ransom cash. Please. Just last year, the FBI found some of the ransom money and his parachute (or some kind of parachute) in the area where he reportedly made his jump.
Current Age: 81
Where he is now: One day, about a decade ago, Cooper crawled out of an East Nashville sewer, and walked up to Todd Snider's house, where the singer/songwriter was sitting on the porch picking guitar, and proceeded to tell him the whole story of the hijacking, which Snider turned into the song "D.B. Cooper." He also proceeded to explain that that the last thing he remembered before waking up in that sewer was hydroplaning toward oncoming headlights while making a break for the Mexican border in a hotwired Mustang convertible not long after his infamous jump. Yep, head-injury-induced amnesia. Ever since he showed up that day, he's been Snider's roommate. But keep it on the down-low—don't want the cops snooping around there.
Alleged Death: Accidental heroin overdose while living in Paris. Really? If Jim knew how to do anything, it was take drugs. Plus, there was all that fuss over the no-autopsy thing and the forged death certificate. I'm not buying it.
Current Age: 65
Where he is now: Morrison always referred romantically to Africa in his latter years, so after he faked his death, it was the first place he went. Of course, living in a decaying outpost in the Congo always sounds better in theory. Six months later, he returned to the States, bought a harmonica, a truckload of Budweiser, ten-thousand packages of Ho-Hos, a palette of lined composition books, and lit out for the Louisiana Bayou. The Budweiser was gone in a week, but Morrison rationed the Ho-Hos, which he still lives on (in addition to the occasional barbecued king snake), and can still be heard by the local swampfolk as he drifts in his fan boat blowing his harp and singing John Lee Hooker covers. The composition books were also put to use, but not how you might think. By 1975, Morrison realized he actually kinda sucked at the whole poetry thing, so he began writing children's books. After years of false starts, he finally had success publishing a series of fantasy novels under the name J.K. Rowling, and is pretty much set for life, even with the "living" Doors hogging all of his music royalties from songs they sold to car commercials. The former film student also makes the occasional talking-penis movie, though they aren't widely distributed, for obvious reasons.
Alleged Death: It's hypothesized that Earhart ran out of fuel and her plane crashed in the ocean. But that's just what THE MAN wants you to think. See, THE MAN is all like, "Girls can't fly planes as good as guys can, because they're weak and stupid and inferior." Oh yeah, THE MAN? Then how did she totally fool your ass and fake her own death? Huh? Huh? Oh, what, no comeback? That's what I thought. ... Also, in later years, Earhart faked her death again, this time blaming "natural causes."
Current Age: 111
Where she is now: After years hiding in Tangiers after her famous flight, Earhart finally felt it was safe enough to resurface without being detected. She became an actress and took the name Estelle Getty. After Earhart/Getty's stint as Sophia on hit TV show The Golden Girls, Earhart continued to act for several years before retiring. In 2008, as Getty, she again faked her own death, and is now living on room service at the Holiday Inn Express in Paramus, N.J.
Alleged Death: Stabbed in the head by mafia hitmen for being a shady-ass union boss who overstayed his welcome.
Current Age: 96
Where he is now: Hoffa actually made it into the witness protection program before the goon squad could get to him. I can't tell you where he lives (since I don't want to blow his cover), but I can tell you this: Jimmy Hoffa is hands-down the most charming door greeter I've ever met at a Wal-Mart.
Jimi Hendrix and The Ultimate Warrior
Alleged Deaths: Guitar legend Hendrix supposedly choked on his own vomit; former WWF champ The Ultimate Warrior, it was rumored (at my elementary school back in the late '80s), died of a steroid heart attack and was replaced by an imposter.
Current Ages: 66 (Hendrix), 50 (The Ultimate Warrior)
Where they are now: Hendrix did choke on his vomit, several times, but it never killed him. That last time, it almost did, but he'd eaten so much acid that, at the last second, he was able to teletransport himself to Europa, one of Jupiter's four largest moons, by simply clicking his boots together and playing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on his Flying V. There he's remained ever since, spending his time eating even more acid and playing guitar (duh, the acoustics on Europa are totally rad). Not long after he transported there, he ran into the young Ultimate Warrior, who was preparing for his journey to Earth, where he hoped to get into the pro-wrestling game. Ever notice that when they used to introduce Ultimate Warrior he was from "Parts Unknown?" Yep, that was Europa. In the late '80s, the original Warrior actually was replaced by an imposter, but not because of a steroid heart attack (the guy is an alien with super-strength... like he needs steroids). He simply missed Europa, and hanging out with his buddy Jimi Hendrix, so he returned home, where the two started a White Stripes-style guitar-and-drums duo with Warrior on kit and vocals, and Hendrix—of course—on guitar.
Alleged Death: Lung cancer. Ha. Andy, always a kidder.
Current Age: 60
Where he is now: Kaufman, after pulling the ultimate douchebag prank—pretending to have cancer and die, all as a joke—began resurfacing in the guise of his alter-ego, Tony Clifton. Here he is playing himself playing Clifton in the movie Man on the Moon. After a while, though, Andy grew tired of that character and now performs mainly as the lead singer of the Jonas Brothers.
lame commentary, sorry. and we all know tupac isn't dead because tmz found him.