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Sources say false tales hit fever pitch in recent months

AFI Life Achievement Award recipient Morgan Freeman | Getty Images

AFI Life Achievement Award recipient Morgan Freeman | Getty Images

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Updated: January 19, 2013 6:14AM

When this column half-jokingly told a longtime Hollywood publicity pro that we need “an Angie’s List for gossip,” he howled. “I’ll say! We probably could use a half-dozen sites like that,” he said with a rueful laugh, noting how the world of the Internet has made circulating phony stories so much more prevalent today.

“Just in the past six months, I have noticed a big increase in hoaxes and totally false stories. That’s always been a factor in the world of celebrities — especially the past couple of decades — but now it just seems worse,” he added.

†A big example is an ugly hoax involving Oscar winner

Morgan Freeman, who was falsely quoted in a detailed rant against the news media, including CNN and Fox News, for how they were reporting on the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Conn. The so-called statement particularly skewered the media for paying too much attention to the shooter.

The bottom line: Freeman issued no such statement, and his publicist said they are attempting to get to the bottom of the hoax — and where it originated. There are reports it started with a man in Vancouver, identified only as “Mark.”

† Another current example of gossip-mongering are the recent claims that “Saturday Night Live” mainstay

Jason Sudeikis and lady love Olivia Wilde are splitsville.

Also not true, confirms the actress’ representative, which isn’t surprising, since just this weekend Wilde tweeted that Sudeikis is the “love of my life.” That’s nice, considering the lovebirds will be in Chicago for Second City’s 24 Hour of Improv & Music event that begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

CLINTON FILM COMING: Oscar winner Martin Scorsese, who previously has made documentaries about George Harrison and the Rolling Stones, now will tackle a guy who plays a mean saxophone, but is better known for his other talents: ex- President Bill Clinton.

Scorsese will direct and produce the film for HBO, and will have the full cooperation of the former commander-in-chief.

In a statement, Clinton said, “I am pleased that legendary director Martin Scorsese and HBO have agreed to do this film. I look forward to sharing my perspective on my years as president, and my work in the years since, with HBO’s audience.”

A HELPING HAND: Kudos to the folks at Laugh Factory Chicago for their benefit to assist victims of Hurricane Sandy who have relocated to Chicago from the East Coast.

The new residents will be temporarily housed in various Maryville Academy campuses and will be the guests of honor at a Dec. 30 fund-raiser at Laugh Factory, with entertainment provided by comedian Sara Benincasa, plus Dylan McDonald and the Avians. For ticket information, go to

‘WRITER’ FOR WRITERS: Nathan Fillion, who stars as mystery novelist and crime fighter Richard Castle on ABC’s hit series “Castle,” has been tapped to host the Writers Guild of America/West awards show Feb. 17 in L.A.

When first asked to emcee the event, Fillion joked, “I was confused and actually thought I was receiving [an award.] Since I play a writer on TV, I felt perhaps someone was under the impression I deserved an award, and I wasn’t about to correct them.At the very least, I can network with the most talented writers in the business in preparation for my next round of unemployment.”

TV TALK: Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michele Lowrance, author of “The Good Karma Divorce,” is the mediator for the new documentary television series “Chained to My Ex,” premiering 8 p.m. Sunday on MSNBC.

SLICE OF HISTORY: Congrats to longtime Palmer House public relations honcho Ken Price, who has finally seen his dream of a Palmer House Archive and Museum become a reality. Plans are still coming together for showcasing this cozy corner of the landmark Loop hotel and its amazing collection of memorabilia dating back to the Palmer House’s earliest days.

SEEN ON THE SCENE: There was an all-star crowd at the the opening party for Municipal Bar +Dining Company, including Michael Jordan and his son Jeffery, Charles Oakley, Simeon Rice, Major Wright, Tim Jennings, Jonathan Toews, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, Ozzie Guillen Jr. and Brent Morel.

First Zach Gilford (“Friday Night Lights”) was spotted dining at Sepia, followed the next night by James Van Der Beek (“Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23”), who checked out the popular eatery on the recommendation of Chicago’s own Joan Cusack.

Dina Manzo of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” fame was in town the other day for the unveiling of the new kitchen on the pediatric cancer floor at Comer Children’s Hospital, funded by Atia’s “Project Ladybug Fund.”

Pop duo Karmin, here for B96’s “Jingle Bash,” got a burger fix at River North’s 25 Degrees.

The Bulls’ Jerry Butler joined the late-night scene at Jellyfish on Rush, hanging out happily in the VIP both next to the DJ. … Don’t know if it worked, but the Bears’ J’Marcus Webb attempted to sulk away his sorrows over the team’s loss Sunday to Green Bay by feasting on pretty much everything on the menu at Mercadito on Kinzie.

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka made her annual pilgrimage Sunday to the Chicago Symphony’s “Welcome Yule,” claiming it was the best performance she’s seen to date!

As for Jay Cutler, he and Kristin Cavallari commiserated with pals at Chicago Cut, where (separately) Bears teammate Henry Melton was spotted.

Design guru Nate Berkus was spied cocktailing at the Screening Room at Public Chicago, saying that he loved the design of Ian Schrager’s hotel and is thinking of creating a similar media room in his own home.

Recent Hub 51 sightings have included Scottie Pippen and wife Larsa and Rihanna’s cohort DJ Calvin Harris.Mayor Rahm Emanuel was seen lunching at Bistronomic on Wabash.

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