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10 Hollywood Myths People Still Believe

by Amanda Mannen
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Tinseltown is notoriously shrouded in mystery, so people are liable to believe some pretty silly things. These myths have endured, sometimes decades after they’ve been debunked.

10 Marilyn Monroe Was A Size 16

Marilyn Monroe

Whenever someone wants to remind our weight-obsessed culture that curves can be beautiful, they often mention that the most revered sex symbol of the western hemisphere, Marilyn Monroe, wore a size 16 (or 12, depending on what country you’re from). Either way, she was as wide as several of today’s starlets standing side by side.

It couldn’t be less true. Several of Monroe’s famous costumes were recently auctioned off, including the white dress from The Seven Year Itch and the red sequined number from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and spectators were shocked to see the teeny, tiny mannequins on which they were displayed. Monroe actually didn’t fit any standard size, because her waist was disproportionately smaller than her bust and hips. Her dresses averaged 22-inch waists and 34-inch busts, so she was somewhere around a 2–4 in today’s US standard dress sizes—about the same as most modern actresses.

9 The Ghost Boy In Three Men And A Baby

bed sheet phantom

In the years following the 1987 release of Three Men and a Baby, thousands of viewers reported spooky sightings of what appeared to be the ghost of a little boy in the background of one scene. Unsurprisingly, they quickly started making stuff up to explain it, and rumors circulated that the son of the couple whose New York apartment was rented for the filming had been killed there, and it was his image that appeared in the film. They even insisted the parents had appeared on 60 Minutes or 20/20 to tell the tale.

First of all, the movie wasn’t even filmed in a New York apartment; it was a Toronto soundstage. More importantly, the filmmakers swiftly provided an explanation for the startling sight—it was a cardboard cutout of star Ted Dansen that someone had misplaced. Poor attention to detail, yes, but nothing supernatural. Even though it was quickly debunked, the rumor persists.

8 Back To The Future Predicts The Future


When the Miami Marlins won the World Series in 1997, rumors circulated that their triumph was predicted in Back to the Future Part II. People claimed that Biff perused a sports almanac and quipped, “Florida wins the 1997 World Series, yeah right.” Alternately, people claimed this was a broadcast displayed on a holographic billboard shown in the future.

Biff never makes any such remark. What the billboard actually said was that the Chicago Cubs would defeat an unspecified Miami team represented by an alligator, which you might recognize as the farthest possible thing from a marlin.

This defeat would’ve taken place the same year as the movie, 2015, which hasn’t actually happened yet. The year in which the film takes place seems to be an ongoing point of contention, despite being clearly stated in the film, and altered images of the dashboard of the DeLorean keep popping up, claiming that we’ve reached the date that it reads. For the record, it’s October 21, 2015. We’ve got a couple of years to go.

7 A Famous Actor Was The Gerber Baby

gerb er

Since the adoption of the mascot in 1931, people have been speculating about the identity of the iconic Gerber Baby, which was kept secret by the company for over 40 years. The name that seems to come up the most often (inexplicably) is Humphrey Bogart. A poll conducted by the company found that many people still believed that either Bogart, Elizabeth Taylor, or Senator Bob Dole were the Gerber Baby, even though it was revealed to be mystery novelist Ann Turner Cook in 1978.

6 Steven Spielberg Got His Start After Sneaking Into Universal Studios

Over the years, Spielberg has told the story of how, as a young unknown, he sneaked into Universal Studios and moved into an empty office. He fit right in with his suit and briefcase, casually chatting with employees as if he had every right to be there, so nobody thought to check whether he actually did. The bluff was so successful that they started actually giving him work, and the rest is history.

Except, according to other people working at Universal during that time, it never happened. His career at Universal began when he was legitimately hired as an unpaid intern by family friend and editor Chuck Silvers. Silvers’s office mate, purchasing agent Julie Raymond, straight up said that Spielberg is lying. It’s true that he had to sneak onto movie sets to talk to people and make connections, but Spielberg was authorized to work in Silvers’s office. Spielberg’s version of events has changed a lot over the years. For instance, he’s claimed to be anywhere from 17 to 21 years old when it happened, with Silvers claiming he was hired at 16—so even Spielberg isn’t sure what the story is.

5 Richard Gere And The Gerbil


Poor Richard Gere has been plagued by rumors since the early ’90s that claim he had sexual relations with a gerbil. According to the story, the LA Times ran a report claiming that Gere checked into the Cedards-Sinai hospital to have a troubling cavity removed from his furry friend, but nobody seems able to track down such a report. According to Sylvester Stallone, Gere blames him for starting the rumor after a falling out, but he denies it.

4 The Goldfinger Death


In a rumor about 1964’s Goldfinger, the actress who played the woman killed by being covered in gold paint really did die the same way. As Bond explains, covering the skin entirely in the paint will cause suffocation—because people breathe through their skin.

Obviously, that’s not how it works. Sometimes people refer to letting their skin “breathe,” but no, all real breathing is done with the lungs. Blocking your pores like that still isn’t a great idea, and you can be slowly poisoned if the paint contains toxic elements, but it won’t cause instant death. The actress in the film, Shirley Eaton, is alive and well.

3 Brandon Lee’s Final Moments Captured On Film


The promising career of Bruce Lee’s son came to an abrupt and tragic end while shooting 1993’s The Crow. In an opening scene in which his character is murdered, a series of events led to a stunt gun being loaded with real bullets, and Lee was really shot and killed. Fans claimed this gruesome moment stayed in the film for all to see, but it’s not true. The scene was re-shot with a double, and it was decided that Draven would be murdered by knife—presumably by filmmakers not wanting to tempt fate a second time.

2 The Haunting Of The Amityville Horror Really Happened

Amityville Horror House

The fact that it was a true story was a huge selling point for the book—and later, the movie—about the terrifying events that plagued the Lutz family after they bought a haunted house in Amityville, New York. But when the movie was released, the lawyer defending the original murderer, William Weber, was livid.

The Lutzes originally agreed to write the book with him, and according to him, they made up the entire story together. The Lutzes eventually ditched him for a better deal; apparently they hadn’t fled the house in terror so much as an inability to pay for it. A long paper trail of lawsuits and back-room deals is on his side, as well as the sequel, which was based on the book he was writing with the Lutzes.

1 Jayne Mansfield Was Decapitated


The beheading of the Girl Can’t Help It star is one of the most notorious pop culture references. Everyone knows she died in a car accident, and some even claim that it was her signature scarf that pulled her head off when it got stuck in the accident. It’s all a big misunderstanding though—Mansfield was wearing a wig when the accident happened. It flew off and was mistaken by witnesses for her head. An employee of the funeral home informs us, rather creepily, that her head was very much attached when he . . . attended to her.

Manna writes and wrongs from sunny Portland, Oregon. Check her out on Cracked, Twitter, or at her blog.

fact checked by Jamie Frater