Abe Vigoda’s Death, a Long-Running Web Joke, Is No Longer Funny

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Abe Vigoda.Photo: Jim Spellman/Getty Images

Abe Vigoda, TV star and longtime character actor, died on Tuesday at the age of 94. The veteran actor has a long list of accomplishments onscreen, but he was also the subject of one of the web’s longest-running death hoaxes.

In fact, Vigoda’s death was first reported in 1982, when People mistakenly referred to the actor as “the late Abe Vigoda.” Since then, the assumption that Vigoda had died followed him around. It didn’t bother him, though. In 2001, he told the New York Times that “People have known for some time that I’m alive. People don’t seem to stop me and ask me anymore. They seem to know.”

In 2001, abevigoda.com launched with a simple mission: to let the public known the status of Abe Vigoda. (An archived version of the site pre-death is here; only one word is different.)

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The similar isabevigodadead.com, which just featured the sentence “No.” has been updated as well.

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While the websites have updated, on Twitter, @AbeVigodaUpdate is learning a valuable lesson about hardcoding values into your bot.