A woman claiming to be the daughter of the late comedian Andy Kaufman has revived rumors that he faked his death in 1984 and is enjoying life outside the limelight, even as speculation builds that her appearance was part of a hoax.
The woman spoke on stage, alongside Kaufman’s brother, Michael Kaufman, at Monday’s annual Andy Kaufman Awards, according to a blogger from the website Comic’s Comic who attended the event.
In a video posted on TMZ, the woman can be heard saying Kaufman left show business because he wanted to be a stay-at-home dad. “He’s pretty much a great dad and raised us,” she said, adding that Kaufman also works from home, helping her mother with her business.
But not so fast.
Defamer, using Cinemablend reporting, wrote today that the woman is a New York-based actress named Alexandra Tatarsky – whose father is actually a doctor.
Her work is often inspired by Russian absurdism, messianic yearning and alchemical failures,” according to Tatarsky’s biography. Defamer adds that Michael Kaufman recruited Tatarsky in February to play the role of Andy’s daughter for a hoax.
Michael told The Hollywood Reporter Thursday that the attention he has received in the last 24 hours is “so, like, out of my league” and that he never said his brother was alive.
“I think I’ve been misquoted, OK?” Michael told THR. “I never came out with, ‘He’s alive.’ I’m as skeptical as anybody else.”
Kaufman died in 1984 from a rare form of lung cancer, according to his death certificate.
At Monday’s event, Michael Kaufman told the audience that after his brother’s funeral, he had found an essay Kaufman wrote about faking his own death, which included instructions on meeting him at a specific restaurant on Christmas Eve, 1999. The comedian didn’t show up but his brother was handed a letter, which Michael reportedly read for the crowd Monday.
Al Parinello, a lifelong friend of the comedian who produces the awards, told The Hollywood Reporter that the letter said, “everything was great in his life and he just wanted to get away from being Andy Kaufman.”
The letter also stated that Kaufman had fallen in love with a woman and that the couple was raising a daughter together.
But Defamer is reporting this is just another Kaufman ruse, just from Andy’s brother.
Ed Cavanagh, showroom manager at the Gotham Comedy Club, told The Hollywood Reporter, “You could see by the look on [Michael's] face that [the story] had an emotional impact on him.”
Still, he added, “I don’t know whether somebody is perpetrating something on [Michael] or not. I’m truly 50-50 on this one.”
Parinello, who actually saw the comedian’s body at his funeral, cast even more doubt on Kaufman’s death.
“Andy was an aficionado of meditation,” he told the Reporter. “One of the things Andy was taught at the highest level was a process where one could slow down his breath to a point where you can literally fool anyone that you may be dead when, in fact, you are alive.”
So, what do you think: Is Andy Kaufman alive or is this just another hoax? Comment below.