Is Andy Kaufman alive? What is going on?

Picture from Notes From the Underground

You might have noticed that comedian Andy Kaufman, who died from cancer in 1984, was trending or making news today. That is because a woman claiming to be his daughter said he is still alive. Kaufman suggested that he wanted to fake his won death and secretly enjoy his life out of the spotlight of Hollywood. His life was chronicled in a movie starring Jim Carrey as Kaufman called Man on the Moon.

From CNN:

In a tale almost as outlandish as his brother’s skits, Michael Kaufman told an audience at a New York comedy club Monday night that he received a letter from his brother 15 years after his death. He then introduced a woman he said was his brother’s daughter born in 1989.

Michael Kaufman explained he was going through Andy’s writings many years ago and found a reference to him “talking about faking his death,” including the line, “I will reappear.” It said Andy’s reappearance would take place at a restaurant on Christmas Eve in 1999.

From USA Today:

An announcement at the annual Andy Kaufman Awards, held in New York, has brought the theory back into the public eye.

The woman told the audience — gathered to celebrate performers who embody the spirit of the comedian — that her father was still very much alive and that he had faked his death to escape the limelight and be a stay-at-home dad for her and her siblings. She also said he wanted to make an appearance at the awards ceremony, but ended up deciding not to come. TMZ has video of the talk.

“I don’t know how much longer he can keep everything away,” she said.

She appeared on stage with Kaufman’s brother, Michael, who asked her questions as she happily responded, repeatedly pushing her brown hair behind her ears.

But it turns out that it was just a hoax and Kaufman isn’t faking his own death and hiding out somewhere.

From USA Today:

Reports are surfacing that say the woman claiming to be Kaufman’s daughter could be a New York actress named Alexandra Tatarsky. CinemaBlend points out the resemblance of the woman to a photo of the actress on a theater website, and The Smoking Gun reports she met Michael Kaufman at a New York gallery featuring a collection of “artifacts” from Andy Kaufman’s life and planned the stunt with him.

Michael Kaufman was supposed to have an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, but he has postponed it after the news of Tatarsky’s real identity and involvement broke.

“This is so, like, out of my league what’s going on here,” he said, referring to the attention this hoax has generated.

“I think I’ve been misquoted, OK?” Kaufman told THR. “I never came out with, ‘He’s alive.’ I’m as skeptical as anybody else.”

So it looks like an elaborate hoax and details are still coming out, but it looks like Kaufman isn’t alive.

Tags: Andy Kaufman

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