Comedian Andy Kaufman is alive and his 1984 death was an elaborate hoax, his brother Michael and a woman who claims she is his 24-year-old daughter said Monday at the 9th Annual Andy Kaufman Awards in New York City.
Best known for his role as Latka Gravas on the ABC sitcom "Taxi" and for his weird alter egos like lounge singer Tony Clifton, Kaufman died in 1984 of lung cancer at age 35, according to his official death certificate.
But friends who said the eccentric performance artist had always talked about faking his death spawned rumors and speculation that he'd actually done it. If so, he would be 64 years old today.
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And what happened at the Andy Kaufman Awards at Gotham Comedy Club Monday night only strengthened the death hoax rumors. Michael Kaufman, the comedian's brother, took the stage and told a story about how he'd found an essay years ago in which his brother detailed his plans to fake his demise, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In the essay, there were directions for Michael Kaufman to meet Andy Kaufman at a restaurant on Christmas Eve 1999. Michael Kaufman showed up and waited but his brother never came. Instead, a man he'd never seen before gave him a letter. In this one, Andy Kaufman wrote that he was alive, married, and raising a daughter with his wife.
"Everything was great in his life and he just wanted to get away from being Andy Kaufman," Michael Kaufman claims the letter read.
What happened next was even more bizarre. A young woman came onstage and told the audience that she was Andy Kaufman's 24-year-old daughter. If that's true, then she was born five years after he allegedly died.
The woman, whose name was not released, said her father was going to accompany her to the awards show that night but backed out at the last minute.
"He just wanted to be a stay-at-home dad, that's why he wanted to leave the showbiz," she said. "He's pretty much a great dad, and raised us. My mom has her own business... He helps her with that kind of thing, paperwork and stuff, so he can work from home and he doesn't have to be hiding out [or] concealing himself."
The news that Andy Kaufman may be alive divided Twitter users.
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