Since Twitter first launched in 2006, it's grown to become one of the biggest social media platforms in the world. There are over 500 million accounts on Twitter, with 200 million of those accounts boasting an active status. Thanks to the famous blue verification seal, celebrities have taken to Twitter as an official forum to voice their opinion, share anecdotes and post selfies. Several of these celeb accounts, though, may have attained an inactive status due to lack of interest, busy lives, or worse.... death.
Digital graveyards have become common on social media; accounts which are kept active post-mortem for friends, family, or fans to post eulogies or sympathies to the deceased. When a Twitter account is still online after the death of its user, people may tweet @ the username with support, kind words, and condolences. When the deceased user is a celebrity, the account might become a living memorial to the celebrity, one that fans can check on from time to time. Oftentimes, the deceased’s account will sit dormant with their last tweet still standing as the most “recent” post. Dormant accounts includes celebrities such as Ryan Dunn, Whitney Houston, Cory Monteith, and Lee Thompson Young. Countless websites have been dedicated to the last tweets of celebrities before they passed away; tweets ranging from comments about the cheesy 'Sharknado' movie to appeals for world peace.
But what happens when a dead celebrity’s Twitter account is still posting and active even after the account user has passed? Some will see it as insensitive, while others may see it as an honorable way to use the celebrity’s fame to bring attention to other projects, promotions, and activities. Here, we've compiled information on the top eight Twitter accounts that still act as the voice of the celebrity even after they have gone to the grave. Whether you think it's tasteless or creative, the proof of the eternal fame of these celebrities is through their Twitter accounts, with their usernames immortalized forever -or at least as long as Twitter remains popular...
8 Elizabeth Taylor - @ElizabethTaylor and @DameElizabeth (March 2011)
Elizabeth Taylor was born in 1932 and got her first big break in 1944. When she passed on in 2011, the world lost one of Hollywood’s greatest actresses and political advocates. Even though she was dealing with a myriad of health problems towards the end of her life, she made herself quite a presence on social media before finally dying from congestive heart failure. The Twitter account she used was @DameElizabeth, which is still active, and now, her trust fund has set up a separate account for activism and charity at @ElizabethTaylor. This just goes to show that even in death, Taylor is still able to make the world a better place by bringing more awareness to social and world issues that affect us today.
7 Amy Winehouse - @amywinehouse (July 2011)
The death of Amy Winehouse was one of the more tragic deaths in the music industry, seeing the talented musician join the list of the industry's all-too-common young deaths including Kurt Cobain and Janis Joplin. After she was booed offstage at a Serbian show, Winehouse was found dead in her London flat from a suspected drug overdose. In life, she was a very active user on Twitter posting selfies, updates about her career, and casual tweets here and there. Since her tragic death, Winehouse’s account is still active, but primarily run by her mother, who has since become an advocate for the fight against drugs. Winehouse’s account is also used to remember her career and accomplishments and has become a place for fans to mourn and remember the singer who died at the young age of 27.
6 Donna Summer - @TheDonnaSummer (May 2012)
Donna Summer was known in the music industry as the Queen of Disco, and when she passed in May 2012 at the age of 63, her death was mourned by not only the industry but by fans from around the world. Summer’s death came as a surprise to millions around the world, and even to some of her friends, as the singer kept the extent of her illness under wraps. Summer’s Twitter account was active with posts about her upcoming albums, tour dates, and updates about her personal life. Since her death, Summer’s Twitter account has been dedicated to the singer’s legacy and career, posting previous performances, interviews, and other tidbits about the star.
5 Michael Clarke Duncan - @OfficialMCD (September 2012)
Michael Clarke Duncan’s breakout role was the part of John Coffey in the critically acclaimed movie, “The Green Mile”. His imposing stature juxtaposed with his gentle nature stood out in the movie industry and Duncan became one of Hollywood’s most beloved actors. In July of 2012, Duncan suffered from a heart attack, from which his fiancée Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth revived him using CPR. Duncan never really recovered from the heart attack and on September 3rd, 2012, he died from heart complications in Los Angeles. Clarke actively used his Twitter account @OfficialMCD in life, but now in death, Omarosa manages the account. You will often see retweets of Omarosa’s tweets on Duncan’s account today.
4 Dear Abby - @dearabby (March 2013)
The world knows her as simply “Dear Abby”, but her friends, family, and business associates knew her as Pauline Phillips. The “Dear Abby” franchise has become one of the biggest hits in the world. In 1956 Phillips became an advice columnist writing under the pen name Abigail Van Buren. Even back in the fifties, newspaper readers appreciated her straightforward advice. Phillips wrote the column solo until 2000 when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, at which stage her daughter Jeanne joined her behind the keyboard. By that time, Dear Abby had grown into an international sensation with copycats the world over. When the “Dear Abby” Twitter account was set up, Phillips made a few tweets herself, but eventually, the account began to be used for Dear Abby promotions exclusively, featuring both new and original, old columns.
3 Roger Ebert - @ebertchicago (April 2013)
Roger Ebert was one of the world's most successful film critics, teaming up with Gene Siskel in 1975 for a partnership that made them famous. Ebert won a Pulitzer Prize for his work as a film critic and worked with Siskel until Siskel's death in 1999. After that, Ebert continued to work solo, even after he lost his voice because of cancer. He lost his battle to cancer in 2013 but if you check Ebert’s Twitter account today, you will find that it is dedicated to the art of being a film critic with sharing of blogs, reviews, and more. Just as his Twitter survives his death, his work is still remembered, through an EbertFest Film Festival, which has taken place every year since Ebert launched it in 1999.
2 Paul Walker - @RealPaulWalker (November 2013)
When Paul Walker was tragically killed in a car accident on November 30th, 2013 along with his business partner and friend Roger Rodas, he still had a lot of projects to which he was committed, including an upcoming installment of “Fast & Furious”. Paul Walker was an avid Twitter user in life, so it made sense for his account to continue even after he passed on. Some followers have admitted to unfollowing his account because they feel to have his account being used for promotions is rather tacky. However, if you check his Twitter account today, you will find various tweets from movie promotions to personal photos and other heartfelt messages that memorialize Walker’s career and life.
1 Nelson Mandela - @NelsonMandela (December 2013)
Nelson Mandela’s name is synonymous with peace. His claim to fame is becoming South Africa’s first black president, serving from 1994 to 1999, and he's renowned as a fighter against apartheid and advocate for equal rights for all citizens in South Africa. In 1993, Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize for global peacemaking. Mandela passed on at the age of 95 on December 5, 2013, and the world mourned. Like many world leaders, Mandela had a Twitter account. Now, whether or not he was the one personally tweeting is debatable, but he had thousands of followers. Mandela’s Twitter account is still active to this day with updates on a nearly hourly basis covering world news, politics and more - quite appropriate given the legacy that Mandela left behind.