Comedian Andy Kaufman officially died in 1984 of lung cancer, but because he’d had such a crazy career full of hoaxes and mindplay, some people didn’t believe that he actually died. He would be 64 today if he was still alive, and now his brother says that he actually is still alive. Is this just another Andy Kaufman joke from beyond the grave?
Monday night at the 9th Annual Andy Kaufman Awards a 24-year-old woman claiming to be Andy’s daughter (who would have been conceived after his “death”) and Andy’s brother Michael stunned the crowd with a crazy story.
Sean McCarthy from The Comic’s Comic gave his account of what happened Monday night:
Michael Kaufman told the audience that while cleaning out Andy’s things after his death in 1984, he found among his many writings an essay about how Andy planned to fake his own death, his literal, figurative and spiritual leaps through meditation, and how he’d eventually reappear on Christmas Eve on 1999 at a particular restaurant that had served him a favored dish years earlier. When that date arrived, Michael said he ventured to the restaurant, asked for a table under one of Andy’s pseudonyms, and waited. He didn’t meet Andy that night, but said someone handed him an envelope, and in that envelope was a letter addressed to Michael from his brother. The letter purported that Andy wanted to go into hiding and live a normal life, that he’d met and fallen in love with a woman and had a daughter, and that he didn’t want Michael or anyone to say anything while their own father was still alive. Andy’s and Michael’s father died this summer. Michael said a young woman called him a month afterward to say that Andy indeed was alive, that he was watching the Andy Kaufman Awards from afar and loving the fact that so many comedians had been inspired by him. When Michael asked the Gotham audience if that young woman had showed up Monday night, a 24-year-old eventually stood up from the back of the room and sheepishly made her way onstage.
Michael asked the audience if they believed her, or him, and said he didn’t know what to make of it all himself.
Do you believe?
UPDATE: Andy’s brother now believes he is the victim of a hoax, and he believes the young woman did not act alone. “Now that it’s Thursday, not Monday anymore, I believe I am part of a hoax,” Kaufman said in an interview with CNN. “I don’t believe she’s acting on her own, though. But, you know, that’s all I know.”
The Smoking Gun found out who the woman was: an actress Alexandra Tatarsky, whose father is a 58-year-old psychologist. According to TSG, it was Michael Kaufman himself who hired Alexandra to pose as he brother’s daughter.