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In this image from video, Tom Hanks speaks during the Celebrating America event on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, following the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. (Biden Inaugural Committee via AP) In this image from video, Tom Hanks speaks during the Celebrating America event on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, following the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. (Biden Inaugural Committee via AP)

In this image from video, Tom Hanks speaks during the Celebrating America event on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, following the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. (Biden Inaugural Committee via AP)

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke March 17, 2021

No, Tom Hanks didn’t die

If Your Time is short

  • Tom Hanks didn’t die. 
     
  • The screenshot of a story about his supposed death that’s being shared on social media comes from a self-described satire website.
 

About one year ago, on March 11, 2020, actor Tom Hanks announced that he and his wife, the actress Rita Wilson, had tested positive for COVID-19 in Australia, where he was shooting a movie. 

Social media posts at the time made Pants on Fire claims that the diagnosis was a cover for criminal charges.

Now, a new post that’s being widely shared on Instagram alleges that Hanks died in Australia a couple days after announcing he had COVID-19.

What looks like a news headline from March 13, 2020, says "coronavirus claims life of Tom Hanks." It attributes the information to a "Queensland Health spokeswoman." 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

There’s no information to support this claim. 

Featured Fact-check

The screenshot of the story that appears in the Instagram post was taken from a website called the-daily-star.com. Though the original story has since been deleted, an archived version of the report says "News24" at the top, lending credence to the idea that this is a credible news site. But scroll down and you’ll see this disclaimer: "This is satire." 

And there’s plenty of evidence refuting the claim that Hanks died back in March 2020.

A couple of weeks after his COVID-19 announcement, American news outlets were reporting that Hanks and Wilson were both back stateside and had been photographed driving around Los Angeles, where they live.  

The Daily Mail published the photos of Hanks that appear in the Facebook post in May 2020. Captions on the images say Hanks is in Los Angeles, not Australia. 

On April 11, Hanks, hosted a special remote episode of "Saturday Night Live."

And in January, Hanks, now 64, hosted an evening celebration of President Joe Biden’s inauguration. 

We rate this Instagram post Pants on Fire!

 

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No, Tom Hanks didn’t die

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