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Andy Kaufman alive? 'Daughter' stuns audience with surprise appearance


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Andy Kaufman alive? 'Daughter' stuns audience with surprise appearance

By Stephen L. Betts. CREATED Nov 14, 2013

Speculation that comedic actor Andy Kaufman may have indeed faked his own death in 1984 has been fueled recently by a bizarre series of events involving Kaufman's brother and a woman who may or may not be the actor's daughter. Since the "Taxi" star's death from lung cancer in 1984 at age 35 (seemingly confirmed by this official death certificate), the comic, who became just as famous (or infamous) for such antics as challenging women to wrestle and appearing onstage as foulmouthed lounge performer Tony Clifton, has been the subject of stories claiming his death was yet another hoax on the public.

According to the Comic’s Comic, at Monday's 9th Annual Andy Kaufman Awards, Kaufman's brother Michael took the stage during the closing ceremony, telling the audience that several years ago he found an essay Andy had written which detailed plans on how he would fake his own death, then reappear at his favorite restaurant on Christmas Eve, 1999. Kaufman's brother explained that he went to the restaurant at the prearranged time and met a stranger who was in possession of a letter, which he then read to the crowd. The letter stated that the comedian decided to fake his death because he "just wanted to get away from being Andy Kaufman." According to the letter, Kaufman had gone into hiding with a woman and had raised a daughter with her.

At that point, the alleged daughter, now 24, appeared onstage at the awards show to inform the audience her father was alive and had dropped out of public view to be a stay-at-home dad. Allegedly, the death of their father [Stanley Kaufman, who passed away this July] is what spurred him to reach out to his brother. (Watch the video above.)

Whether or not the whole thing was real, one fan in attendance posted to Facebook that "it was f---ing f---ed up."

For his part, Michael Kaufman has refused to comment further, but tells the Hollywood Reporter the woman who claims to be his niece is "impossible to reach, for reasons he would explain later." Some attendees have identified the girl as a theater student, but couldn't say whether or not her appearance was all an act. The Smoking Gun identifies her as Alexandra Tatarsky, whose real father is a Manhattan psychologist.

Stephen L. Betts

Stephen L. Betts

Stephen L. Betts ("Steve") is a Nashville-based journalist who started his career as a tour guide, karaoke operator and library assistant at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.