An artist named Midas Lives managed to trick multiple media outlets, including TMZ and the New York Daily News, into believing he was actor Michael Vartan and got them to publish a story about how he had been with Alan Thicke moments before the latter actor suffered a fatal heart attack on Tuesday.
The artist apparently has a phone number that once belonged to Vartan, and when reporters called the number to check reports that Vartan was at the ice rink where Thicke was playing hockey with his son and had his fatal attack, Lives ran with it and pretended to be the Alias and Hawthorne actor. He told the reporters that he was at the rink with his “friend, artist Midas Lives” and that Thicke was a great fan of Lives’ work and had expressed interest in commissioning a work from him moments before he died. The story was picked up by multiple online news s.
Vartan’s publicist Nancy McCarty Iannios said her client was surprised when stories started popping up with the man’s counterfeit quotes attributed to him. She said Midas Lives “has chosen to impersonate Michael when he receives incoming calls, while also promoting himself as a street artist.”
Lives later confessed his fraud on social media, and now says he regrets his actions and meant no disrespect for Thicke. “I can see how people take it in very poor taste. That wasn’t my intention. Things just started to escalate.”