->''"Tax dodge nothing! You take one nap in a ditch in the park and they start declaring you this and that!"''
-->--'''Professor Hubert Farnsworth''', ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', addressing claims he declared himself legally dead as a tax dodge

When a character who is alive is mistakenly believed to be dead. Quite often includes the character being shown his own death certificate. Often includes being declared LegallyDead, but isn't necessarily restricted to that. May result in a case of AttendingYourOwnFuneral and hearing a PrematureEulogy. Compare FakingTheDead, where the character deliberately misleads people into believing that he's dead and NoOneCouldSurviveThat, where the character incidentally creates this impression by doing something that by all rights ''should'' have killed him.

Named after a statement that Mark Twain [[BeamMeUpScotty didn't actually say]] -- but should have.

Has subtropes:

* DisneyDeath: The audience witnesses an apparent death, but the character is still alive.
* NotNowWereTooBusyCryingOverYou: The character announces their own survival, but gets a NotNowKiddo response from the mourners.
* NotTooDeadToSaveTheDay: The survival allows the character to make a DeusExMachina (though this one has a variant where the character stays dead).

See also FirstLawOfResurrection, where character was meant to be KilledOffForReal, but was brought back from the dead in sequels.

'''Note:''' As a DeathTrope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. '''Beware.'''

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Madara Uchiha/Tobi, in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', since everyone in the story thought that he/they died a long time ago. Turns out to be {{averted|Trope}} in the case of Madara, who was brought BackFromTheDead, but Tobi is Obito, who was crushed "to death" in Kakashi's Gaiden. He was saved ([[HalfTheManHeUsedToBe half of him, anyway]]) by Madara. Who was still alive for a long period of time after he was believed to be dead anyway.
* [[DragonBall Goku]] seems to be written off as dead by his friends for most of the King Piccolo saga, even though there's no indication of him actually dying. He just went after the mutant that killed Krillin and Bulma already declares him killed in action, not even considering the possibility that he might still be alive.
* Lyon in Manga/FairyTail. After his supposed demise, he returns to the group very nearly invoking this trope by name.


[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''Fanfic/AllYouNeedIsLove'' L isn't dead but the computer thinks he is.
* In ''Fanfic/TheMiracleAtPalaven'', Patrus Castellus goes to Captain Ixius' family to inform them that, after 3 years of being MIA, she was officially being designated as KIA. To his immense surprise, he found her at home with her husband and children.
* ''{{Series/Emergency}}'':
** In ''[[http://audreys-efanfic.freeservers.com/lostandfound.html Lost and Found]]'' this goes double when a serial killer abducts John and shoots Roy. Roy survives, but John's captor tells John he died, and Roy and the others can only fear the worst for John.
** Everyone but Roy thinks John is dead in "[[http://tbillingsemergencyfanfic.com/miracles.htm A Season for Miracles]]''
** "[[http://tbillingsemergencyfanfic.com/missingfamilypart1.htm Missing Family"]] has a similar thing where Roy's plane crashes and everyone but John are sure he's dead.
** ''[[http://audreys-efanfic.freeservers.com/sojourn.html Sojourn Into Silence]]'' has everyone thinking Roy died in a helicopter crash-until he's found alive 18 days later in a ravine.


* In the ''Film/StarshipTroopers'' [[InNameOnly movie]], Johnny Rico's friends bring him a copy of his own death certificate, while he's still in the hospital recovering from his wounds. They all have a big laugh over it, except for Rico's LoveInterest, who doesn't know the report was incorrect.
** Later on, her JerkAss boyfriend discovers Rico is still alive, and [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold immediately informs]] the LoveInterest.
* In ''Film/BatmanBegins'', Bruce Wayne goes on a multi-year incognito journey to find himself, and when he gets back Alfred tells him he's been thought dead. It's mostly played as a throwaway joke, though, and is sorted out between scenes with no lasting complications. Alfred mentions that there have been moves to have him declared legally dead, and Bruce says it's a good thing he left everything to Alfred then.
* Everybody in ''Film/EscapeFromNewYork'', when meeting Snake Plissken, will say something along the lines of "I thought you were dead!".
** Plissken mutters to the Girl in the coffee store, "I ''am'' dead."
* The same thing was done previously to John Wayne's character in ''{{Big Jake}}''. Eventually, Big Jake gets so annoyed, he promises to kill the next person to say it to him—who, of course, turns out to be the BigBad...
* In ''CastAway'', Chuck Noland is declared dead after being stranded on a deserted island for years. They even held a funeral for him.
-->'''Chuck Noland:''' "You had a coffin? What was in it?"
* Played with in ''Film/StarTrekFirstContact''. "Reports of my assimilation are greatly exaggerated."
* In ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanOnStrangerTides'', Jack Sparrow relates the (RealLife) myth of how the body of Blackbeard swam three times around a navy vessel after it'd been decapitated. As he relates this story ''to'' Blackbeard, who's alive and intact, this trope presumably applies within the [=PotC=] Verse.
* [[TekkenBloodVengeance Heihachi Mishima]] [[TheReveal is not as dead as most people think.]] [[MeleeATrois He shows up for the three-way brawl between himself, his son and grandson.]]
-->'''Heihachi:''' It feels good to be back. Hiding in the shadows after faking your own death is a bore. In fact it's downright tedious.
-->'''Kazuya:''' I thought I've thrown you into the depths of Hell.
-->'''Heihachi:''' Ha! If you thought that was enough to kill me, you are gravely mistaken.
* In ''[[Film/TheJungleBook The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story]]'', Shere Khan is shot and presumed dead early in the film. When he returns later, he reveals that he was merely ShotInTheAss.
* ''[[Film/SeventhHeaven 7th Heaven]]'': Chico comes home from UsefulNotes/WorldWarI just as his wife Diane is being told he was killed. As they embrace, he says that they said he was dead, but he'll never die. It's a heartwarming moment.


* Gallagher opened the morning newspaper and was dumbfounded to read in the obituary column that he had died. He quickly phoned his best friend, Finney. 'Did you see the paper?' asked Gallagher. 'They say I died!!' 'Yes, I saw it!' replied Finney. 'Where are ye callin' from?'

* In ''The Satanic Verses'', by Salman Rushdie, Saladin Chamcha has trouble with red tape and getting his career back in order after being presumed dead in the plane crash.
* Doc Daneeka from ''Literature/CatchTwentyTwo'' is listed as dead because he was on the flight roster for a bomber that flew into a mountain. The fact that he was standing there in person, telling them he wasn't dead, failed to convince the army bureaucracy.
* In Creator/JRRTolkien's ''Literature/TheHobbit'', when Bilbo Baggins finally returns to his house, he finds a huge crowd gathered for his estate auction. Since he had left without telling anyone, and not returned for a year, everyone in the Shire had assumed he was dead. His heirs, the Sackville-Bagginses, were rather disappointed when he turned up.
* Nicoma Cosca in the ''Joe Abercrombie'' novels has this happen many times over the course of his life, and declares it "wishful thinking on the part of my enemies."
* In Creator/JohnSteakley's ''Literature/{{Armor}}'', the protagonist is the only survivor of a military unit that gets wiped out. The confusion of circumstances results in parts of the computerized record-keeping system thinking he's also dead, while other parts are aware he's alive; this, to put it mildly, does not make his life any easier.
* Literature/HonorHarrington says a variation on the line when she returns to Manticore in ''Ashes Of Victory''. In this case, not only has she been gone for the better part of two years, but the [[PeoplesRepublicOfTyranny People's Republic of Haven]] actually faked footage of her ''execution'' and broadcast it throughout the galaxy. This causes a lot of complications, not least of which that her estate has been divided up according to her will. [[HumbleHero Honor is less bothered by this than by certain twenty-foot-tall memorials to her.]] Even the Peeps thought she had died in a failed attempt to escape. But no one was going to believe ''that'', so they claimed to have formally executed her, to put a badass face on the debacle.[[note]]Unfortunately for the Peeps, this ultimately leads directly to a) [[spoiler:no less than four {{Heel Face Turn}}s among the Havenite officer corps (Lester Tourville, Shannon Foraker, Warner Caslet, and Thomas Theisman) and b) the MilitaryCoup that overthrows the Committee and restores the kind of democracy that hasn't governed Haven in two hundred years]]. Whoops.[[/note]]
** Roughly half a decade later, Honor's best friend Michelle Henke is seemingly killed at the Battle of Solon. Turns out she actually made it off the ship and was tucked safely away in a Havenite POW camp. When the two meet again, Michelle remarks that "now we're even for that jaunt to Cerberus you took."
* In Creator/LewisCarroll's ''Literature/SylvieAndBruno'', the Vice-Warden arranges for a false report of his brother's death.
-->''"Is the Warden supposed to be dead?"\\
"Well, it's supposed so: but, mind you, I don't believe it! The evidence is very weak—mere hear-say. A wandering Jester, with a Dancing-Bear (they found their way into the Palace, one day) has been telling people he comes from Fairyland, and that the Warden died there. I wanted the Vice-Warden to question him, but, most unluckily, he and my Lady were always out walking when the Jester came round. Yes, the Warden's supposed to be dead!" And more tears trickled down the old man's cheeks.''
* A footnote in one of the Literature/CiaphasCain, '''HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!!!''' books reveals that Cain was listed as "killed in action" and then showed up alive (and typically saving the day) so many times that the Munitorum finally gave up trying to keep track and kept him on the payroll regardless -- even long past his ''confirmed'' death ... and burial with full military honors.
* Possibly as a ShoutOut to Creator/MarkTwain, one book in ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' sees a new alien race that according to Ax was killed off millennia ago. "Reports of their extinction may have been exaggerated" indeed, they're trying to kill us right now.
* In the ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'', Corran Horn has been reported dead and turned up alive again so often (3 times in the five ''Literature/{{X-Wing|Series}}'' novels he features in alone) that it has been joked that when he really dies, nobody will believe it and will assume he's just in hiding and will turn up again sooner or later.
* ''Literature/TheCuriousIncidentOfTheDogInTheNighttime'': Christopher's father told him his mother died. Then Christopher finds all the letters she's been writing to him since she left his father.
* In ''[[{{Temeraire}} Victory of Eagles]]'', Laurence is thought dead by Temeraire after the ship he was imprisoned on is sunk by the French (a stray cannonball opened his cell, and he tried to help the crew before making it to the lifeboats with the survivors).
* Near the end of ''Literature/TheConformist'', Marcello discovers that Lino, the man he shot as a child after he attempted to molest Marcello, is still alive, and that the obituary he read in the paper shortly after the event was erroneous.
* In ''Literature/TheAdventuresOfTomSawyer'', Tom and Huck are mistakenly thought dead until they show up [[AttendingYourOwnFuneral at their own funeral]].
* In ''ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'', we have Lemony Snicket.
-->''This obituary is filled with errors. Most importantly, I AM NOT DEAD.''
* ''[[Literature/TheCatWho The Cat Who Lived High]]'': While vacationing, Qwill's car is stolen and the driver turns up dead. The local law enforcement where the car is found, who don't know Qwill, assume the dead man is the owner of the car and issue an incorrect report. While most of Moose County is thrown into deep mourning, Arch goes to where Qwill is staying to get the cats and almost has a heart attack when he finds Qwill sitting there.
* ''[[Literature/TeddyLondon All Things Under the Moon]]'': Referenced. The day before the London Detective Agency goes to face a werewolf, they get into a discussion that involves quotes on death; Paul Morcey says he prefers Mark Twain's famous quote on death, and hopes to be around to say it in a few days.
* Serge, the ''[[Literature/TimDorsey]]'' novels' usual protagonist, is on a quest to find out the truth about his grandfather, Sergio's, death after a fiasco with rare stolen diamonds. He believes his namesake is still alive, and is actually quite right. The "dead man" in question even explains that no one bothered to check how deep the water was, he was actually standing up to his chest and watching the chaos unfold on the docks.

* Subverted in [[http://snltranscripts.jt.org/00/00supdate.phtml this]] ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' segment from 2001 in which Music/LouReed appeared on "Weekend Update" to confront rumors that he was dead. Reed confirmed that yes, he really was dead.
* In ''{{Smallville}}'', Earth-2 Lionel says the trope name almost word-for-word in season 10 but it is a bit of a subversion as it isn't the "old" Lionel.
* ''MyFamily'': Ben Harper gets listed in the obituary by accident.
* ''Fries With That?'': Ben Shaw files himself as dead to get out of being beaten up. His friends quickly take advantage of this by pointing out that they don't pay dead people.
* There's an episode of ''TheGoldenGirls'' in which Blanche's spurned boyfriend, an obituary editor, runs her obituary to get back at her. Blanche is more upset that he claimed she was 68 than being listed as dead.
* One ''Series/MyTwoDads'' episode has a typo in an obituary causing everyone to think Joey was dead. He goes along with it for a while to sell art, because DeadArtistsAreBetter.
* The ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' episode "Doppelgangland," in which meeting Vamp Willow causes Series/{{Angel}} to report that Willow is dead. He then say hi to human Willow who is standing right behind him.
* In the ''Series/{{Mash}}'' episode "The Late Captain Pierce", the U.S. Army mistakenly declares Hawkeye dead.
* In ''CoronationStreet'' Jerry's father put his own obituary in the newspaper.
* The eventually-[[BackFromTheDead oft-killed]] Daniel Jackson had this happen to him in an early episode of ''Series/StargateSG1''- they hold a eulogy for him and start going through his stuff before they realize they've just been tricked into ''thinking'' he's dead. And at the beginning of season 7, he reclaims a good many items which Jonas Quinn was using... ''You weren't using them'' was Jonas' ([[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence understandable]]) explanation.
** Of course, he differs from most of these examples in that most of the time he ''actually was'' dead. Later on, though, his teammates get GenreSavvy about it, and O'Neill outright ''refuses'' to hold a memorial service one of the latter times he gets killed, noting that he'll probably be back any time now.
* Archie Bunker was misreported as dead by the Veterans Administration for one episode of ''AllInTheFamily.''
* ''Series/BabylonFive'':
** John Sheridan was thought to be dead. "I was. I got better." He spends a long time cleaning up the consequences of this.
** Earlier in the series, Sheridan exploits the fact that Mr. Morden is [[LegallyDead officially deceased]] to hold him prisoner without legal justification (Garibaldi [[WhatTheHellHero calls him on it]]) and [[PerpSweating interrogate him]] about what happened to the expedition where Sheridan's wife disappeared.
* In ''Series/ICarly'', Spencer is thought to be dead in an episode due to a misleading newspaper article which never explains why they presumed that. [[DeadArtistsAreBetter It results in Spencer's artwork being worth a lot more money, which causes him to continue the illusion]].
* In ''Series/TheSarahJaneAdventures'' episode "The Death of the Doctor"...well, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin you can guess]].
-->'''The Doctor''': Have you been telling people I'm dead?
* ''Series/GameOfThrones''.
-->'''Lord Tywin:''' I see that the rumors of your demise were unfounded.\\
'''Tyrion:''' [[TheUnfavourite Sorry to disappoint you, Father]]. No need to leap up and embrace me, [[DeadpanSnarker I wouldn't want you to strain yourself]].
* Happens on more than one occasion in ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The Series 2 two-part finale [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E12ArmyOfGhosts "Army of Ghosts"]]/[[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E13Doomsday "Doomsday"]] begins with a voiceover from Rose [[BreakingTheFourthWall telling the viewer]] "this is the story of how I died." At the conclusion, it's revealed that she's actually alive and stuck in a parallel universe, but she's been declared legally dead in our universe.
** In the Series 5 finale [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E13TheBigBang "The Big Bang"]], the Doctor, Amy and Rory meet a mortally wounded version of the Doctor from 12 minutes into the future, and watch him die. Turns out he was only faking it to allow the trio to create a diversion for 12 minutes, allowing the future-Doctor to [[TheSlowPath use those 12 minutes]] to wire up the Pandorica.
* Jonathan Doors is shot by a sniper in the pilot of ''EarthFinalConflict'', protecting the Taelon ambassador Da'an. Turns out, it was all a setup. The sniper was working for Doors and was shooting blanks, as was the doctor who confirmed his death. The goal was to set up LaResistance to figure out the real reason the Taelons came to Earth. A few episodes later, Doors publicly outs himself, using a similar line to this trope.
* ''Series/{{Highlander}}'' had an episode involving an Immortal who did a lot of charity work, who was shot in a mugging and died on Anne's operating table. As Anne broke the news to his followers, he came walking down the hall.
* In one ''Series/HorribleHistories'' sketch, as per history, a distinctly premature obituary is Alfred Nobel's inspiration for establishing his eponymous prizes (as it revealed that otherwise he would be remembered solely as the 'Merchant of Death', i.e. the inventor of dynamite). "And I will call them... Prize-amite!"
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'': Dean's "demise was exaggerated" after a {{shapeshifter}} who assumed his form was killed.
* ''Series/SleepyHollow'' gives us a [[SubvertedTrope subversion]] with Brooks, who actually ''was'' dead, but was resurrected by the BigBad to continue doing his dirty work:
-->'''Brooks:''' Reports of my death were...pretty much true.
* The episode "[[Recap/StarTrekS2E1AmokTime Amok Time]]" from StarTrekTheOriginalSeries has this when Kirk and Spock are forced to fight to the death in some kind of Vulcan mating ritual. Spock seemingly kills Kirk (which snaps him out of a [[MateOrDie mating frenzy]], don't know what that says [[HoYay about their relationship]]) and returns to the Enterprise [[WhatHaveIDone devas]][[HeroicBSOD tated]] and ready to resign from Starfleet. Cue Kirk coming up behind him and asking "Don't you think you had better check with me first?". Cue Spock grabbing him and spinning him around [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming with the biggest, goofiest smile on his face]]. Turns out [=McCoy=] had injected Kirk with something during a time-out that he said was to help the human Kirk compensate for Vulcan's climate, but was really to make it look like Kirk had died so Spock would win.
* One episode of ''{{Lateline}}'' has Raji really upset as the news program goes to air. He then reveals that he had just heard Creator/BuddyHackett had died. They agree to make a quick mention on the air. When the guests respond to the quick mention by discussing their memories of Hackett, they end up turning the episode into an hour long dedication. The next episode of the news program starts with the revelation that Hackett is still alive an apology for the mistake. (The episode of the sitcom aired in 1998, five years before Buddy Hackett died for real.)

* ''VideoGame/EscapeFromMonkeyIsland'' starts with Elaine discovering that because she spent so much time out of the government of her islands, she was declared dead and had to get re-elected.
--> '''Elaine Marley''': I'm going down to city hall to see about getting declared un-dead.
--> '''Guybrush Threepwood''': Won't that make you a flesh-eating zombie?
** In the same game:
--> '''Meathook''': Guybrush! I'd heard you were killed by a giant clam!
--> '''Guybrush''': Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
--> '''Meathook''': Not to mention celebrated.
--> '''Guybrush''': What?
--> '''Meathook''': Nothing.
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', Shepard [[ItMakesSenseInContext actually was dead for two years]], which leads to trouble when they return to the Citadel and is picked up by the security scanners as being dead. Fortunately, a [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure friendly C-Sec officer]] changes the records without making Shepard jump through all the hoops they would normally have to go through. It is mentioned that folks ''fake'' their own death fairly often as a tax dodge.
** You can also have them keep you out of the system, so to security you don't exist.
* In the first chapter of ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 2|CursedMemories}}'' Dark Hero Axel is reported as dead (Adell and Rozalin just knocked him out), and he spends several chapters trying to convince people he's not. His own mother goes into mourning and then chews him out when he calls to reassure her, because she thinks he's an unusually cruel prankster; even after he MCs the Coliseum battle to jumpstart his career, the newscast "lose" the footage and claims that he's an escaped asylum inmate who thinks he's Axel. Much later his producer is revealed to have been behind it all to cover up his embezzlement.
* Doctor Halsey quotes this trope in ''HaloReach''. The casualty reports had listed her as K.I.A., or so Noble Team thought.
** Near the beginning of the level "Uprising" in ''{{Halo 2}}'', the Arbiter runs into some friendly Elite forces. He's greeted with "The Arbiter! I thought he was dead!"
* In SpyroYearOfTheDragon, Spyro goes through a portal and ends up in a faraway land where dragons were thought to be extinct. He replies with "Rumors of our extinction were greatly exaggerated."
* The ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' add-on, ''Lonesome Road'' adds a perk, "Thought You Died", which is basically this.
** In the main game, you can meet up with the people that were responsible for you getting shot in the head. Most of them react in shock that you're alive.
** In the backstory, this has happened to Joshua Graham five times. 1st Recon, NCR's elite sniper squad has reported five confirmed kills on him, only for him to show up alive each time. This has led to him becoming TheDreaded and when you meet him in the Honest Hearts DLC, Graham is indeed [[MadeOfIron inhumanly durable and difficult to kill]].
* [[Franchise/ResidentEvil Albert Wesker and later, Jill Valentine]] both fall under this trope; Wesker in VideoGame/ResidentEvilCodeVeronica and Jill in VideoGame/ResidentEvil5.
* In the Original [[NinjaGaiden Ninja Gaiden]] Trilogy, Irene Lew is thought to have been killed in the opening of the third game. She shows up later on and she is not very happy with her former boss trying to kill her.
-->'''Irene:''' Did you think that I would die that easily?
* In ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine'', [[spoiler:Col. John Konrad]] gives an interesting inversion of this trope. As it turns out, [[spoiler:the real Col. Konrad had taken up residence in one of Dubai's towers, and eventually, out of depression over the failure of the evacuation of Dubai's people, committed suicide. The Konrad who has been speaking to Cpt. Martin Walker was just a figment of his imagination, and the moment Walker finds Konrad's corpse, the imaginary Konrad walks up to the body and gives it a genuinely amused look, before stating with a smirk]]:
-->'''[[spoiler:"Konrad"]]''': It seems that reports of my... ''survival''... have been greatly exaggerated."
* Whenever [[TeamFortress2 Scout]] is revived in a Mann vs. Machine map using the Re-Animator, he has this to say:
-->'''Scout:''' Reports of my death were BULLCRAP!!

* Occurs a couple of times in ''Roleplay/WeAreAllPokemonTrainers'':
** In the alternate timeline, a flashback implies [[Videogame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl Cyrus]] had the mind controlled Dialga kill DS, and she is reported dead to the other Trainers. Only when she [[BigDamnHeroes arrives for the finale]] is revealed that Dialga resisted Cyrus's command long enough to imprison DS along with the other Legendaries instead.
** Later, when DS and the Lake Trio finally find Palkia, who is the only one who can help them escape from the other dimension, they discover that Palkia has been [[TakenForGranite petrified]], presumably having been that way since the arc began.


* ''Mickey's April Fools'', has Mickey Mouse pretending to die in front of Mortimer as an April Fools prank. Mickey then gets a letter declaring he's inherited a million dollars, but he can't get it because he's supposed to be dead.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'', Dino Spumoni faked his death and had this problem when he realized he couldn't get paid if he was ''dead.''
* [[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Homer Simpson]] did it to escape a day of work. It eventually led to him discovering his long-lost mother, whose ''own'' death had been greatly exaggerated decades previously by Homer's father. She then fakes her death AGAIN at the end of the episode.
** Lisa was also presumed dead at one point, owing the fact that she was supposed to be camping an ancient redwood when it got hit by lightning (which, as it turns out, [[NiceJobBreakingItHero was caused by the bucket she had in the tree]]). She refused to come clean because her "death" was inspiring the people, but finally did when it was twisted by the rich Texan guy ([[HisNameReallyIsBarkeep whose name is actually Rich Texan]]) into publicity for his new amusement park.
** And Bart also once had Milhouse help him fake his death on some cliff.
** In 'Simpsons Tall Tales' episode where Bart and Nelson take the roles of [[Literature/TheAdventuresOfTomSawyer Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn]], the two boys can be seen lying on a rafter grinning down at the townspeople who are attending the boys' funeral. Subverted that it turns out that they really are dead; their bodies, which ended up with those looks on them, are lowered to their caskets.
* On ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' this happened three times. The first time with Peter, who got out of a hospital bill by writing that he was dead. The rest of the episode involved him making a deal with the GrimReaper. The second time was when they got Quagmire out of a marriage with a psycho woman. Since her last name was also Quagmire by marriage, and she grabbed the GrimReaper's hand (killing herself in the process), it all worked out nicely.
** The third time also involved the GrimReaper, but he was just there, he didn't harvest. Peter, Cleveland, Joe and Quagmire all get stranded on a deserted island for quite some time, and are declared dead. Peter has to save his marriage since Brian married Lois during that time.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', Cubert was able to take over Planet Express because the Professor had been declared dead as a tax dodge.
-->'''Farnsworth:''' Tax dodge nothing! You take one nap in a ditch in the park and they start declaring you this and that!
* WesternAnimation/{{Dilbert}} had all of his benefits cut at work after spending a short period of time dead.
* An episode of WesternAnimation/SouthPark featured a guy being frozen for almost three years. He comes back to his wife who says that she assumed he was dead and married someone else and now had two kids, aged 8 and 15. After awhile, the guy says, "Wait, 8 and 15?".
* In ''Megamind'', Metro Man goes so far as to fake his death before retiring to live alone. He makes a return for the finale in a spiritual sense, as it's actually Megamind using a hologram disguise, and quotes the trope name word-for-word.
* Occurs almost ''verbatim'' early in the second season of WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures, upon discovering that Shendu is very much alive and in possession of the Dark Hand's boss, Valmont:
-->'''Shendu:''' Reports of my demise have been ''greatly'' exaggerated.
* [[spoiler: Shockwave]] name-drops this trope in his first appearance in the third season of [[WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime Transformers Prime]].


* The TropeNamer is Samuel "Creator/MarkTwain" Clemens, who gave the trope title as a statement in response to hearing that his obituary had been published in the New York Journal. The Journal had mistakenly reported the illness of his cousin James Ross Clemens (who [[NotQuiteDead wasn't actually dead]], either) as Twain's own death. The original quote was:
-->James Ross Clemens, a cousin of mine, [...] is well now. The report of my illness grew out of his illness; the report of my death was an exaggeration.
* Happens sporadically to non-notable individuals; usually, this results from poor communication between a family and the funeral home (i.e., a family member incorrectly reporting that someone had died, when in fact that person is still alive although death is likely imminent). On these rare occasions, the funeral home will submit for publication to local newspapers an obituary that had been pre-written.
* On August 27, 2008, Bloomberg accidentally published a 17 page obituary regarding Creator/SteveJobs' death. In a subsequent public appearance Jobs joked about the accident by displaying on screen, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." Jobs ''actually'' died about three years later.
* A newspaper mistakenly published an obituary for Alfred Nobel, instead of his deceased brother. Nobel was shocked to see a newspaper crowing that "the merchant of death is dead" due to his invention of dynamite, and was inspired to start the Nobel Prize so that he would be remembered for something else. It worked.
* Britney Spears' Myspace page was once hacked (or so they claim) with a fake death announcement.
** In 2001, Spears was the victim of a prank news report on radio station KEGL-Fort Worth, Texas, where the disc jockeys claimed that the then 19-year-old pop princess was killed in a car accident, and that her then-boyfriend, Justin Timberlake was also either killed or that his death was expected shortly. Outrage quickly followed, major news media quickly debunked the report and the disc jockeys responsible for the report were fired.
* In India, it's popular to bribe an official to declare a relative dead so that you can inherit his property. It has all the advantages of murder without the unpleasant messiness.
** [[http://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/24/world/24INDI.html?ex=1083211200&en=3394201d75ddfea1&ei=5070 Lal Bihari]] had this happen to him and it took him years to literally get his life back. He was awarded an [[http://improbable.com/ig/ Ignobel Prize]] for his foundation of the Association of Dead People. One tactic of Association members is to get arrested at protests, leaving the authorities to explain how dead people can be arrested.
* On June 25th, 2009, Jeff Goldblum was reported dead of a fall on a movie set in New Zealand. On June 30th, 2009, Jeff Goldblum went on Series/TheColbertReport (on which he had made several recent appearances) to deny the ([[CaptainObvious fake]]) reports of his death. He then subsequently caved to the evidence, ([[RealityIsUnrealistic news program clips reporting his death]]) [[http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/220019/june-29-2009/jeff-goldblum-will-be-missed confirmed his own death, and gave his own "eulogy."]]
* In the aftermath of the demonstration on 17th November 1989 that launched the VelvetRevolution in Czechoslovakia, a rumor has spread that a student named Martin Šmíd was killed during the event. This turned to be a misinformation; a student of that name was at the demonstration, but left before the police attack began. He was interviewed on television, presumably to dispel the rumor...and the transmission started at just the wrong moment when he was saying, referring to the events of the day: "Death touched me." (In case this figure of speech doesn't translate well to English, he meant: "I was horrified.")
* Some accidental premature publishing on cnn.com revealed that CNN at least has outlines and some graphics prepared for obituaries of famous people who have yet to die, like Dick Cheney and Queen Elizabeth, in anticipation of eventually having to get one up on short notice.
* In 1964, news bulletins widely broadcast a report that NikitaKhrushchev had died of "hecaphylphocatirosisus". Apparently, this went out when someone did not notice the notation "Can you confirm this?"
* For a complete list of premature obituaries, check out [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_premature_obituaries The Other Wiki]].
* Although he was never officially declared to be dead, a very popular meme in the late 1960s suggested that PaulMcCartney had died in a car accident around the mid 1960s and was replaced by a lookalike, which really took off in the underground media. The fact that the 'evidence' for this theory largely seemed to stem from a number of obscure and oblique 'references' on [[Music/TheBeatles Beatles]] album covers and in song lyrics suggested that large quantities of drugs being ingested probably had something to do with it, but the rumours bedeviled [=McCartney=] for years no matter how many times he denied them, including a variation on the Mark Twain 'quote' above: "Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated. If I were dead I'd be the last to know."
--> "I wasn't really dead." (Paul to Chris Farley on ''SaturdayNightLive'')
* A few years ago, there were a number of rumors that actress Creator/NatashaLyonne was at death's door, due to various drug addictions. According to {{IMDB}}, she's still alive.
* A popular rumor in the 70's and 80's was that Jerry Mathers (of ''LeaveItToBeaver'' fame) had been killed in Vietnam. Not only is he quite alive and still acting, he never even served in Vietnam.
* At the Battle of Hastings in 1066, a rumour suddenly swept through WilliamTheConqueror's army that Duke William had been killed. The Duke heard of this and took his helmet off so that his army could recognise his red hair. He proceeded to win the battle (in which his opponent King Harold really ''was'' killed) and complete the NormanConquest.
* When QueenVictoria was in her final years, it was frequently reported that she had died and implied that they were just pretending she was still alive to keep her son off the throne.
* In 2008, an internet {{troll}} began circulating reports that voice actor Jerry Jewell had died in a car accident. Jewell remarks on it in the DVD commentary for ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'' episode 9, which was being dubbed around that time: "Yes, I died in a car accident. But I had to record. That's what I'm willing to go through to get the job done." Ironic considering the anime in question, and the fact that such things happen to the characters in it [[ImmortalLifeIsCheap regularly]].
* [=LulzSec=] once placed a false story on The Sun's website claiming that Rupert Murdoch had died from a drug overdose. It was quickly removed, but still managed to be reprinted by The Times and a number of other news sites.
* Steve from ''WesternAnimation/BluesClues'' was surprised to hear he had died and been replaced with a lookalike. No matter how many times he said he was still alive, some people still believed he was dead.
* In describing the assessments of his medical condition once given to him by various doctors, composer Frederic Chopin commented "I have been sick as a dog during these past two weeks. Three doctors have visited me. The first said I was going to die; the second said I was breathing my last; and the third said I was already dead."
* Abe Vigoda, known for his acting roles in ''Film/TheGodfather'' and ''Series/BarneyMiller'', was wrongly reported as dead in 1982 by ''People'' magazine. Vigoda found this amusing, and had a photo published in ''Variety'' of himself sitting up in a coffin reading the mistaken issue of ''People''. Today, [[http://www.abevigoda.com abevigoda.com]] provides real-time updates on the status of Abe Vigoda (current status: Abe Vigoda is '''alive'''.)
* {{IMDB}} once mistakenly reported that Creator/MaraWilson (of ''{{Film/Matilda}}'' fame) was dead. Her joking response was that [[BackFromTheDead they were]] [[CameBackWrong half right]].
* TomKenny once discussed on Marc Maron's podcast how he was once reported dead, and how he thinks that something like that is more likely to happen to someone like him, who's relatively well known but not super well known like someone like George Clooney, so it takes longer to debunk.
** Same thing happened to Rodger Bumpass, although he himself has claimed this to be untrue.
* Jaroslav Hašek, author of The Good Soldier Švejk, summed up various accounts depicting his alleged death during his UsefulNotes/{{World War I}} captivity in Russia (and short stint as a Bolshevik commissar):
--> "After I returned to my home country I learnt I had been hanged three times, two times shot, and once even drawn and quartered by wild Kirgiz insurgents, near the Kale-Ishela lake. Finally, I was stabbed during a brawl by drunken sailors in an Odessa pub. [[RefugeInAudacity The last account I deemed the most likely]]."
* BobHope was twice a victim of death rumors – once in 1998, when he was still in good health, and again in 2003, just three months prior to his actual passing – with a pre-written obituary of the entertainer accidentally published on a news web site. In the 1998 case, where his "death" was actually published on the Associated Press' web site, Hope's death was announced in the U.S. House of Representatives, broadcast live on C-SPAN (with camera shots of visibly upset legislators being shown). The 2003 obituary was published on CNN's website.
* Country music pioneer Ray Price was also a victim of the premature obituary, as many national news outlets (from ''Rolling Stone'' to the ''USA Today'') had reported the singer's purported passing on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, from cancer … only for Price's wife, Janie, to reveal that although he was near death, he was still alive. [[http://popcultureblog.dallasnews.com/2013/12/reports-of-country-legend-ray-prices-death-have-been-premature.html/ See this link for more details.]] Incidentally, Price did die … approximately a day after the premature obituaries were announced online, leaving behind one of the greatest legacies ever in country music.
* In 1976, ABBA member Bjorn Ulvaeus appeared on German television to counter a rumour that he and his bandmates had died in a plane crash in what was then West Berlin. Needless to say, ABBA were never actually involved in a plane crash (though they did have a near miss in 1979) and all four are currently still alive.
** In some versions of this rumour, Anni-Frid Lyngstad (AKA Frida) was said to have survived, but with such [[CareerEndingInjury severe injuries]] that her singing career was effectively over.
* On March 16, 2014, US Magazine reported that Creator/WayneKnight had been killed in an auto accident. Upon hearing this, Wayne tweeted [[https://twitter.com/iWayneKnight/status/445239269469458432 "Some of you will be glad to hear this, others strangely disappointed, but….I am alive and well!"]], later adding "Does someone have to DIE to trend? Geez!"
* In 2010 Tawnee Stone, a web softcore porn personality from the mid-1990s, was reported to have died in a car accident; but it was the ''character'' Tawnee Stone, not the actress who had done the scenes (and who hadn't made any new material in a long time). The producer spread the rumor to revive interest.
* In the Christmas charity livestreams for [[LetsPlay/{{Yogscast}} the Yogscast]] in 2013, LetsPlay/SimonLane put a photo of fellow member Alex "Parv" Parvis (also the guitarist for the band Music/{{Area 11}}) onscreen, claimed he'd died and said that the photo was a mini-memorial. It very promptly became a meme in the form of "[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin RIP PARV]]", and he came back from a gig with the band that very evening to [[https://twitter.com/Area11Parvis/status/407302458290208768 find out he was "dead"]]. Even after he cleared the situation up, there are people who still didn't believe he was still alive nearly seven months later.
* In 2009 actress Nancy Allen was reported to have died of cancer, she later came out and told the public this was untrue.


-> ''[[SelfDemonstratingArticle It appears the reports of the end of this article have been greatly exaggerated]].''