Make us your home page

Andy Kaufman faked his own death, his alleged daughter says (but she's a fake)

Does this seem like the kind of prank the Kaufmans would pull? Yes, yes it does.

Bud Lee photo

Does this seem like the kind of prank the Kaufmans would pull? Yes, yes it does.



The hottest rumor of the week by far is the possibility that comedian Andy Kaufman, who (allegedly) died of lung cancer in 1984, actually faked his death and is alive and well away from the public spotlight. Maybe saying he's well is going a bit too far, but wow, that would be a long way to go for a punchline.

Andy's brother Michael was at the Gotham Comedy Club in New York Monday for the ninth annual Andy Kaufman Awards, according to The Comic's Comic website, and he had a big anecdote for the audience -- namely that his brother may still be living. In short, Michael said after Andy died, he found an essay in which his brother said he'd fake his death and come back at an unnamed restaurant on Christmas Eve 1999.

Michael said he went to the eatery and didn't meet Andy, but was given a letter from Andy that read, in part, that "everything was great in his life and he just wanted to get away from being Andy Kaufman," The Hollywood Reporter says. The letter said Andy wanted to stay in hiding while his father Stanley Kaufman was alive, but he'd fallen in love with a woman and had a daughter. Michael and Andy's father died this summer, and the daughter supposedly called Michael a month later.

Michael then asked if that daughter was there Monday night, and a 24-year-old woman got up and walked on stage, going by the surname McCoy, which Kaufman often used when checking into hospitals, THR said.

Award finalist Killy Dwyer recounted the incident on her Facebook page, writing:

"Andy Kaufman's daughter came onstage and claimed he was alive. It was. It was...I can't tell you how it was, only that it was as real as any reality that i've seen. and yeah. I get that it is -- could -- might all be a hoax. That was the only and last thing I want to say. it was f---ing f---ed up. She said he is alive and that the passing of his father this July made him want to reach out via her- to Michael, Andy's brother. She said he is watching the award entries, semi and finalists with great interest always. He just wanted to disappear. To be a father. To be an observer. As much as this seems like bulls--- as I type it, it was as real as anything I've ever seen. There is video. It was chilling, upsetting and absolutely intriguing. I bawled my eyes out. The entire room was freaked out. It was, if nothing else, brilliant. and incredibly mindf---ng and AWESOME."

That video Dwyer's talking about ended up on TMZ. Luckily we know how to embed YouTube clips, so you can watch it below. As for how Kaufman may have faked his own death, Andy's old friend and awards producer Al Parinello told THR, " "Andy was an aficionado of meditation. 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 that's the one thing that Michael checked for."

Except there's one problem: The Smoking Gun says the woman is actually Alexandra Tatarsky, and she's the daughter of a psychologist, not Andy Kaufman. She was recruited by Michael to play a prank at the awards show, the site says. Damn you, Internet, you ruin everything.

[Last modified: Thursday, November 14, 2013 4:53pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours