Happy April Fool’s Day. We hope you don’t fall for any tricks — and that you don’t take any real headline to be fake. Here are some examples of April 1 headlines that turned out to be completely real.
Singer Marvin Gaye was fatally shot by his father, Marvin Gaye Sr., on April 1, 1984. The news was so shocking and the timing so unfortunate that even Gaye’s close friend Smokey Robinson thought it was a morbid prank by the disc jockey on the radio station where he heard it.
Van Halen was one of the biggest rock bands on the planet in 1985, so it’s not a surprise that lead singer David Lee Roth announcing his exit from the band, on April 1, would be considered to be a joke by most fans. But exit he did, to be replaced by Sammy Hagar, who took the band to even greater success.
Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, known simply as Selena, was murdered on March 31, 1995, but that proximity to April Fools’ Day was enough for some fans to accuse radio station KEDA-AM, which broke the news initially, of lying about it..
On April 1, 2004, Google announced an invitation-only beta version of a new e-mail service, called GMail. With tongue-in-cheek press release in tow, the idea seemed like a fantasy, especially the 1GB space Gmail offered — at a time when the most popular free email hosts like Hotmail and Yahoo were offering 2MB and 4MB, respectively.
In a headline befitting The Onion itself on any day, the news that the satirical news humor website had won a Peabody Award landed, fittingly, on April 1, 2009.
One of the biggest piece of fanboy news was almost written off as an April Fools’ joke in 2010, when the now defunct IESB revealed that Joss Whedon was Marvel’s top choice to direct “The Avengers.” After two weeks of speculation, Marvel officially confirmed Whedon was the one.
In 2012, Ashton Kutcher may have been best-known for taking over for Charlie Sheen on CBS’ “Two and a Half Men.” So it may have come as quite a shock when the announcement was made on April 1 that he would be playing Apple founder Steve Jobs in an indie movie, “Jobs,” a full two years before Michael Fassbender was nominated for an Oscar for playing him in Danny Boyle‘s “Steve Jobs.”
In a real-life superhero moment that seems too good to be true — especially on April 1, 2015 — UFC fighter Matt Hamill saved a baby in a runaway car. The baby’s mother had fallen unconscious due to alcohol, causing her to weave erratically into oncoming traffic. Hamill drove after it, stopped it and then punched through the car windows in order to rescue the baby.
On April 1, 2015, Lifetime announced its newest movie of the week: “A Deadly Adoption” — starring Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig. It was the perfect setup for a great prank, but this one was dead serious. One day after the news broke, Ferrell and Wiig’s camps announced the movie had been scrapped — that turned out to be the joke, and the movie premiered two months later.