Dame Elizabeth Taylor's fascinating story took another twist on Wednesday, when the New York Times posted their obituary, revealing the writer had died almost six years ago.
The screen icon, known for both her classic films in the 60s and 70s and her colourful private life, died at her LA home yesterday, aged 79.
Her obituary in the New York Times was a moving and respectful one. However, eagle eyed readers were stunned to discover that the writer of the article, Mel Gussow, died in 2005. Two other writers were credited for additional reporting.
Penning obituaries before the subject has died is not an unusual thing and is in fact protocol, according to New York Times obituary editor Bill McDonald.
He said, "We write many of our obituaries in advance - hundreds, in fact - and occasionally the subject outlives the writer. In most cases we'll then have the obituary redone. But on occasion we feel the original piece is worth preserving, and publishing - with updating, of course - because of the quality of the writing and the reporting and the authoritativeness of the writer."
Indeed, the writer of Taylor's obituary wrote her first draft in 1999.
A producer on CNN added, "We stay ready for the inevitable. Just like newspapers, we curate obituary material for use on all shows upon the death of a prominent figure. Sometimes, there are years of planning that go into it."
via Taylor outlives obituary writer - Yahoo! Movies UK.