Andy Kaufman is considered to have been one of the most unusual and alternative comics and entertainers. Ever. Jim Carrey reintroduced many in our generation to the odd antics of the performer in the 1999 film, Man on the Moon, based on the R.E.M. song of the same name.
Wildly explosive and controversial, Andy’s career took off after people took notice of his standup routine. He instantly launched into a celebrity career that put him on the televisions of America on shows like Saturday Night Live and Taxi. According to Biography, Kaufman “made an appearance in a show at Carnegie Hall, after which he arranged for the entire audience of 2,800 people to be bussed to a Manhattan café for milk and cookies.” He kept audiences on their toes, kept them guessing, wondering, always suspicious — was this for real? (Remind anyone of anyone else?!)
He quickly earned a reputation for, well, having a reputation. At the height of his success he reportedly was diagnosed with a very rare form of lung cancer. Because the actor never smoked, the rumors instantly began to surface that the actor was faking his illness. When the news of his death was reported, many suspected even his death couldn’t be believed.
Officially Andy died on May 16, 1984. But did he? Is the comic dead or has he been alive all of these years, watching how the world has observed his life and legacy from the sidelines?
Earlier this week Michael Kaufman, Andy’s brother, stood on stage at the Andy Kaufman Awards at the Gotham Comedy Club and completely shocked the audience. People reports Michael told a “long, winding story that essentially claimed Kaufman was alive and had been living for the past 29 years in total obscurity, raising his family.” Michael then introduced his niece. Yes, his niece, as in Andy’s daughter.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke to Al Parinello, a friend of the Kaufmans. Al shared, “I witnessed the entire thing, and I can tell you without a doubt this was not a prank.”
Except it turns out, it was a prank. An elaborate, dramatic hoax involving a New York City actress who met Andy’s brother in early 2013 while working at the Maccarone Gallery. Defamer, who was one of the first to report the story of the possible “alive-ness” of Andy, has uncovered the proof that shows this plot has been in the works for a while. They report the woman who came on stage as Andy’s daughter is actually a 23-year-old actress named Alexandra Tatarsky.
I will confess when I first heard the news about Andy still possibly being alive and having a secret family, I wanted to believe it. Just like a part of me wants to believe all of the brilliant performers who left us too soon maybe just joined a witness protection program and are still hanging around in Albuquerque.
Watch the “reveal” of Andy’s daughter:
Image Credit: Wikipedia
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