What are some real life examples of people faking their deaths?

Who has done it and got away with it (at least for awhile)?

Sure, read the Straight Dope column here :slight_smile:

Another example is former Labour MP John Stonehouse.

Dr. Hans Ernst Schneider (b. 1909) was an academic (in literature and art history) and later a full-time SS member working in the occupied Netherlands.

In 1945 he disappeared; his wife had him declared dead. Schneider then reappeared under the name Hans Schwerte (note same first name, same initials), married his own widow, studied the history of literature in oder to gain his doctorate (in 1948) under his new name.

Dr. Hans Schwerte then went on to become a well-respected academic, later university professor. He gained international repute in futhering academic relations with the Netherlands and Belgium - in the case of the Netherlands, working with some of the same universities for the occupation oversight of which Dr. Hans Ernst Schneider was responsible for.

In 1992-1995 clues to the Schneider/Schwerte identity began to be pursued; he was publicly uncovered in 1995, his emiritus professorship and his civil service pension was were revoked. Schneider/Schwerte died in 1999.

German-language Wikipedia article

Doing a quick search on the imdb (‘faked’ and ‘death’ in the bios sections), a couple of people are known to have faked their deaths for a short time (obviously, if they were still successful, we wouldn’t know about it).

Margot Kidder is reported to have faked her death while she was having emotional problems, believing that her husband was trying to kill her.

Porno actress Hyapatia Lee faked her death for several years before turning up again in the 90’s. No explanation was given.

Wikipedia has a suggestion it was to increase merchandise sales :stuck_out_tongue:

New Jersey politico David Friedland faked his death in a scuba diving accident in the early 1980’s to avoid serving a jail sentence for corruption, and was not found until a couple of years later.

You sure about that? I ask only because I was acquainted with her in the early '90s, and she was a fairly public figure at that time, and had been for several years, to my understanding. (Not in porn, but in the community where we both lived. She was active in the school system, local arts scene, stuff like that.)

This case has been making news in Sydney over the past few weeks.

A porn actress that goes to PTA meetings? :smiley:

Sorry, my years were wrong. According to the imdb, she ‘died’ in the late 90’s and reappeared some time afterwards.


Granted, the imdb is user-submitted, and the trivia pages are particularly prone to mis-information. Were you acquainted with her throughout the 90’s?

Just up until about '96 or '97. Haven’t seen her since, because I moved away.