The audience believes him to be dead from other characters mentioning
Would it be possible to not just mentioned his supposed dead, but show it in "cutscene" where the "other charater is metioning it?
Alfred: And how is Skipper
Betty: That is terrible - I was told, that he was killed last yer in Venice by some unknown assasin
New reflector lights up to (until now dark) corner, Alfred and Betty are standing still thru this scene (maybe even darkened as unimportant now),
we see Skipper walking there, then shadowy figure sneaks after him, cut his throat, lay his corpse on groung, loot his pocket and then sneaks away.
New reflector dims to dark, Old reflector lights Alfred and Betty (Skipper hides in dark, technicans cleaning the death scene in dark if needed)
Bety (start again moving and gesticulate): It was so terrible, I got goosebumps when I heard all the bad news.
Alfred: Poor Skipper, how drastical death for my young friend. And how about you, would you go to Roma this year?
Betty: Totally, Roma is soo wonderful ... blah, blah, blah ...
Then in titles
Betty - Jossica Rabbits
Skipper - John Doe
Maid/Gardener/Assasin/Young girl no. 3 - Janet Smith
and in final scene Skipper just came on podium
Alfred: Is it you? I thought, you died in Venice last year!
Skipper (shocked): I was not in Venice in my life, why should I be there? But most importandly - will you come this evening to the Bar? I heard, there will be new kind of beer today ...
Or something like that - depending, how supposedly Skipper should die - maybe bed and doktor helding his falling hand, then closing his eyes, or any simple short scene to ilustrate, how Betty described his death.
Audience would presume, that Skipper(John Doe) had only that one death scene, especially, if he is followed by some other actor, who plays his assasin (and maybe many other small roles) and then Skipper would appear again, alive and simply deny the "vision" as false.
(I made it looks, as it is nothing important in the flow, so nobody really much cares about his dead and him being alive, but dependind on your story it can have much harder influence on all acting characters and take more then two sentences to splash it away...