A woman claiming to be Andy Kaufman’s daughter has renewed the rumors that the comedian faked his own death, an idea that has been debated for over two decades.
The rumors about the fake death of Andy Kaufman are not something new but now there is yet another twist to the story. First, the thing that must be mentioned is that a few months ago some audio recordings between Andy and Bob Zmuda were released and those included jokes made by the comedian saying how he would fake his own death. Now the difference is that a woman is claiming to be the daughter of the Taxi star.
Back to the present, on Monday at the Andy Kaufman Awards, the woman was introduced on stage by Andy’s brother, Michael Kaufman. He first explained that years ago he discovered an essay in which Andy detailed his plans of faking his own death. Officially, the comedian died in 1984, at age 35, from renal failure.
According to Time Entertainment, Michael told the public that Andy wrote in the essay that he would reappear at one of his favorite restaurants in 1999 on Christmas Eve. The brother of the star said that even though Andy didn’t show up, he received a letter from a waitress where the comedian explained that he wanted to live a regular life after falling in love with a woman and having a daughter. There was also a request in the letter saying that Michael should not say anything until their father died (which happened over this past summer).
A month after the event, Michael received a phone call from a woman saying that Andy was alive and that he was enjoying the awards. On Monday, at the awards ceremony, Andy’s brother introduced the 24-year old woman who claimed to be the daughter of the star.
Comedian Killy Dwyer, who was present at the ceremony, wrote on Facebook that “the entire room was freaked out” by the news and according to The Independent, Dwyer said that he thought the information was “chilling, upsetting and absolutely intriguing.”
The Hollywood Reporter explains that the woman claiming to be Andy’s daughter continued to tell the audience that her father is alive, saying, “the passing of [their] father [Stanley Kaufman] this July, made him want to reach out to his brother.” She added that Andy spends his days taking take of his children (yes, plural). She also told the public that he was thinking of appearing at the Gotham Club that night, but it the end he didn’t do it, despite feeling that it was time he came clean and showed his face in public.
Ed Cavanagh, the showroom manager at the Gotham Comedy Club said, “You could see by the look on [Michael’s] face that it had an emotional impact on him.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, when he was asked if he believes the most recent addition to the story, Cavanagh added,”I don’t know whether somebody is perpetrating something on [Michael] or not. I’m truly 50-50 on this one.”
The Smoking Gun reports that the woman claiming to be the daughter of Andy Kaufman is actually an actress named Alexandra Tatarsky. It seems like her real father is a doctor living in Manhattan.
The Smoking Gun also adds that Michael Kaufman met Alexandra at an exhibit about Andy’s memorabilia and this is when he recruited her for the stunt.
Al Parinello, a lifelong friend of Andy who produces the awards, said, “I witnessed the entire thing and I can tell you without a doubt this was not a prank.” Parinello, who met Kaufman at the Grahm Junior College in Boston, attended the comedian’s funeral and was one of the few people who claimed to see the body.
“It was a closed casket,” he recalls. “Only the family [and myself] actually saw the body.” How then does he reconcile Monday’s events? “Andy was an aficionado of meditation,” he explains. “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.”
A copy of the Kaufman’s death certificate can be seen online. Michael Kaufman was contacted by The Hollywood Reporter and said that the woman who was claiming to be the daughter of Andy cannot be reached. He said he would explain why at a later time, adding “I’m as skeptical as anybody else.”
Still, in a CNN interview at The lead with Jack Trapper, Michael said that he didn’t hire the woman who was claiming to be Andy’s daughter and that he was a part of a hoax. “I don’t believe she’s acting on her own, though,” Kaufman said of the woman he introduced Monday night. “But, you know, that’s all I know.”
According to CNN, when he was asked if he was angry, he said, “I’m still processing it. As Andy’s brother, you learn over the years, you know, to go with the flow, kind of. So I have mixed emotions. I never allowed myself to get too excited, but I was always slightly skeptical.”
Andy Kaufman did have a daughter and she was given for adoption when he was 17. Stanley Kaufman found her and reunited with her 20 years ago. The two of them became very close:”She’s the greatest gift my son gave me,” he said.