10 Debunked Showbiz ‘Urban Legends’

From Entertainment Weekly:

A golden death
The myth here wasn’t so much that the Goldfinger actress (Shirley Eaton) had died but that it was possible to die as her character Jill Masterson had: skin asphyxiation. After Masterson defected from her boss, Auric Goldfinger, to be with Bond, 007 found her covered in gold leaf on his bed. At the time, it was believed that we breathed through our skin and so while filming the scene, a patch of skin on Eaton’s body was left uncovered so her skin could ”breathe.” We now know that Pluto isn’t a planet, there’s good and bad cholesterol, and the body does not breathe through the skin.

That deathly scream
The blood-curdling scream on the Ohio Players’ ”Love Rollercoaster” was so chilling that many believed it was really the sound of a woman in distress. There were a variety of outrageous scenarios floating around, but the most commonly believed myth was that it was the model from the album cover being stabbed to death in the studio: She’d been disgruntled about damage done to her skin by the honey. Truth is, the scream came from keyboardist Billy Beck. No harm, no foul play.

Mikey and those Pop Rocks
When Pop Rocks came out in the 1970s, parents worried their kids would choke on the fizzy candy. For kids, the extra gross-out, fear factor came from the worry that combined with Coke, the candies could make your stomach explode. Little Mikey from the popular Life cereal commercials became the go-to example of just such a death. Maybe it was because Mikey would eat anything or maybe he was just a popular character. But the story has been debunked repeatedly (Coke and Pop Rocks don’t produce nearly enough carbonation for that as the pilot episode of Mythbusters showed) and commercial actor John Gilchrist — a.k.a., Mikey — lives on.

Felled by food?
When the Mamas and the Papas singer Mama Cass died on July 29, 1974, she was upwards of 220 pounds and found in bed with a ham sandwich by her side. Despite the autopsy reports that would later indicate a heart attack as the cause of death, rumors would persist that the great singer had choked on her food, as if the tragic death needed an extra bit of macabre.

It’s a bird! It’s a…munchkin?
About the time that the 50th Anniversary DVD of the classic movie The Wizard of Oz appeared, so did the rumors that one scene contained a lovelorn munchkin’s suicide by hanging accidentally caught on camera. The prevailing explanation by experts and those involved in the production is that it’s actually a large bird (one of many placed in scenes throughout the movie) spreading its wings. Not as titillating a story, though, is it?

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