IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Living stars who you may think are dead

Think Ernest Borgnine or Jean Stapleton have passed on? Think again, these stars, along with many others, much to our surprise, are still among the living.
/ Source: contributor

Ernest Borgnine

Image: Ernest Borgnine
Actor Ernest Borgnine arrives at the 36th Annual FIFI Awards hosted by the Fragrance Foundation, honoring the fragrance industry's creative achievements on Tuesday, May 20, 2008, in New York. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)Peter Kramer / KRAPE

Not only is Ernest Borgnine still among the living, he’s still working! Sure, the 91-year-old mostly stars in a string of “blink and you’ll miss ’em” film and television dramas, but in recent years, he took part in a huge cartoon franchise — “Spongebob Squarepants.” Sadly for Ernest, voicing the part of Mermaid Man did little to reassure the public of his vitality. People have to see to believe. Besides, most of those young enough to appreciate “Spongebob” are far too young to remember the veteran actor.

Jean Stapleton

Image: Jean Stapleton
400311 04: Actress Jean Stapleton attends the opening of \"Just Between Friends\" January 29, 2002 at the Booth Theatre in New York City. (Photo by George De Sota/Getty Images)George Desota / Getty Images North America

Poor Jean Stapleton. She’s suffered death-by-association a couple of times. The first rumors of her demise came after her onscreen counterpart, Edith Bunker, kicked the bucket on “Archie’s Place,” an unfortunate follow-up to the TV classic “All in the Family.” No one could blame her from jumping off that sinking ship, but many fans assumed Edith was simply following in Jean’s posthumous shoes. Once again, in 2006, some assumed she joined the dearly departed when actress Maureen Stapleton (no relation) passed away. Despite the imaginary close calls, the 85-year-old’s very much alive.

Doris Day

Image: Doris Day
circa 1955: Headshot portrait of American actor and singer Doris Day smiling and leaning on a counter in front of a wall hanging of the king of diamonds, 1950s. Day is wearing a blue button down shirt with a diamond and gold brooch. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)Hulton Archive / Hulton Archive

The inherent problem with retirement and living one’s life away from the lens is that, eventually, people assume the worst. Doris Day was film fixture until the late 1960s, and even tried her hand at television in the ’70s and ’80s before calling it a day. Career-wise, that is. The squeaky-clean star of “Pillow Talk” and “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” made a few public appearances after her friend and frequent film partner Rock Hudson died in 1985, but now the 84-year-old maintains her wholesome image by quietly volunteering her name and personal efforts to animal rescue.

Harry Morgan

Image: Harry Morgan
Celebrities Attend Awards Banquet For Opposition To The Death Penalty 387540 01: Actor Harry Morgan and his wife attend the Los Angeles chapter of Death Penalty Focus'' 10th Annual awards banquet April 4, 2001 in Los Angeles, CA. DPF is the nation's largest membership-based organization working to abolish capital punishment in the United States. (Photo by Newsmakers)

The reason behind Harry Morgan’s frequent and untimely presumption of death is elder-syndrome. That has nothing to do with his current age, which is 93. It’s more about Harry’s presumed age throughout his career, which has always seemed, for lack of a better word, old. Even back in the early 1950s, when he gained fame as Officer Bill Gannon on “Dragnet,” he just didn’t give off a thirty-something vibe. By the time another generation came to know him as “M*A*S*H’s” Colonel Sherman T. Potter, he was well into grandpa territory. And, of course, fans can hardly be blamed for thinking the worst. After all, there’s only been a couple of Harry-spottings since the millennium rolled over.

Abe Vigoda

Image: Abe Vigoda
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 06: Actor Abe Vigoda attends The Motion Pictures Club's 65th Annual Awards & Installation Luncheon at the Marriott Marquis Hotel October 06, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Abe VigodaEvan Agostini / Getty Images North America

Abe Vigoda is a man so often thought to be pushing up the daisies, he’s made a second career out of it. It all started in the early ’80s, when People magazine referred him as “the late Abe Vigoda.”  The actor tried to turn it into a joke by posing in coffin and grasping a copy of his almost-obit, but the damage was done. Abe began to credit his lack of work to the confusion surrounding his life-or-death status, but that changed after both David Letterman and Conan O’Brien discussed the actor’s passing on-air, only to have Abe join them for the punch line. Now fans who want to stay up-to-date of the 87-year-old’s current condition can simply visit for a virtual pulse-check.