After a hoax report that Wayne Knight had died in a traffic accident near the New York–Pennsylvania border, the actor who played Newman on “Seinfeld” and a treacherous techie in “Jurassic Park” took humorously to his Twitter account to dispel the rumors of his sudden demise.
“Some of you will be glad to hear this, others strangely disappointed … but I am alive and well!” tweeted Knight, 58, taking a wry view of some folks’ tendency to confuse him with the characters he has played.
Packed houses cringed — and possibly cheered — when Knight bought it in “Jurassic Park,” the victim of a hungry young Dilophosaurus that blinded him with venom, then delivered the coup de grâce in the Jeep that Knight’s character, Dennis Nedry, was using to escape.
But Knight, who went on to further fame as Jerry Seinfeld’s nemesis “Newman” on “Seinfeld,” learned Sunday that not all folks hold his roles against him. After the death hoax circulated on Facebook and other corners of the social media universe, Knight followed his initial tweet with a more heartfelt thanks to those who had expressed grief online.
“Thanks for all the love, everybody. I didn’t know you cared. Glad to be breathing!” he typed, along with another humorous observation: “Does someone have to DIE to trend? Geez!”
Though the actor was not involved, the wreck was in fact real and tragic. The Bradford (Penn.) Era had reported Friday that a 26-year-old woman from Grand Island, N.Y., was found dead at the scene that morning after she lost control of her Chevrolet Malibu and it crossed into the path of an oncoming tractor-trailer. Her two passengers -- a 3- or 4-year-old boy ejected from the back seat and a 23-year-old man -- were critically injured and flown to a hospital in Buffalo, N.Y.
Updated: The last sentence of this post has been revised to clarify that only the boy was ejected from the car.