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Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Andy lives!
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14 November 2013 Last updated at 12:55 ET
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Comedian Andy Kaufman 'faked his death', brother claims
Andy Kaufman Kaufman's eccentric comedy act often incorporated elaborate
Continue reading the main story
* Carrey's taxi to an Oscar
* Carey as Kaufman goes for Golden Globe
Cult comedy star Andy Kaufman faked his own death in 1984 and is still
alive, his brother has claimed.
Kaufman, best known for playing the incompetent Latka Gravas on the
1970s sitcom Taxi, officially died from lung cancer in 1984.
But, appearing at an award show named in Andy's honour, Michael Kaufman
said he received a letter from his brother, confirming he was alive, in
He then introduced a woman who claimed to be Andy's 24-year-old daughter.
Her age would mean she was born five years after his death.
"He just wanted to be a stay-at-home dad, that's why he wanted to leave
the showbiz," she explained at the New York event.
"He's pretty much a great dad, and raised us. My mom has her own
business... He helps her with that kind of thing, paperwork and stuff,
so he can work from home and he doesn't have to be hiding out [or]
"He just makes us food and takes care of the house."
It has since been claimed, however, that the mystery woman is in fact a
New York actress whose father is a doctor.
According to website The Smoking Gun
Alexandra Tatarsky was recruited by Michael Kaufman earlier this year to
play his alleged niece.
Audience 'freaked out'
The woman's arrival on Monday night had been preceded by a long
anecdote, in which Michael described how, many years ago, he discovered
an essay in which Andy detailed plans to fake his death.
It was accompanied by a note, saying the comedian would reappear on
Christmas Eve 1999, in a specific restaurant.
Although Andy failed to show up, Michael was handed a letter explaining
that his brother had gone into hiding to live a normal life, and now had
a wife and daughter.
Continue reading the main story
It was chilling, upsetting and absolutely intriguing?
Killy Dwyer, audience member
In addition to his role on Taxi, Andy Kaufman was an eccentric
performance artist who often staged elaborate pranks that entertained,
confused and at times frustrated his fans.
He organised wrestling matches between himself and women, impersonated
Elvis Presley and, most famously, created a hideous lounge singer
alter-ego called Tony Clifton, who reeked of foul-smelling cheese and
verbally abused virtually everyone in sight.
Famously, after he played Carnegie Hall, he hired 24 buses and took the
2,800 audience members out for milk and cookies.
A life-long health fanatic, he was diagnosed with cancer at the age of
33 and died in May 1984. A copy of his death certificate, which lists
the cause of death as renal failure, can be seen online
Nonetheless, a portion of his fan base has always maintained his death
was a hoax.
Still from Man On The Moon Jim Carrey played Kaufman in the 1999 biopic
Man On The Moon
Audience members at the Andy Kaufman Awards were uncertain how to take
Michael's revelation, wondering if it, too, could be a stunt.
"The entire room was freaked out," wrote comedian Killy Dwyer on her
"I get that it is - could - might all be a hoax... [but] it was as real
as anything I've ever seen. There is video. It was chilling, upsetting
and absolutely intriguing."
Award show producer Al Parinello told the Hollywood Reporter:
"I witnessed the entire thing and I can tell you without a doubt this
was not a prank."
"You could see by the look on [Michael's] face that it had an emotional
impact on him," said Ed Cavanagh, manager at the Gotham Comedy Club,
where the award show took place.
But, he added: "I don't know whether somebody is perpetrating something
on [Michael] or not. I'm truly 50-50 on this one."
Witnesses said the unnamed woman had explained the catalyst for her
appearance was the death of her grandfather, Andy's father, in July.
In a video of the encounter, posted on gossip site TMZ
Michael is seen asking whether his brother is "getting close to
The woman covers her face and says, "I don't know what to say."
"I mean, he was really thinking about coming," she adds.
Michael then asks the audience not to follow the woman after she left
"I won't give you her name. I don't even know [her] name," he says. "Let
her have her privacy."
"Send him my love," he adds.