Jerry Lawler: Andy Kaufman Rumors Stem From Dead Comic's Antics

Image: Jerry Lawler: Andy Kaufman Rumors Stem From Dead Comic's Antics Jerry Lawler

Friday, 15 Nov 2013 09:39 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Former pro wrestler Jerry Lawler, who staged a feud with late comedian Andy Kaufman in the 1980s, said this week if Kaufman staged his own death, it would fit his crazy comedic routines.

Lawler told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that rumors about Kaufman still being alive stem from his wild antics.

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Kaufman, one of the stars of the 1980s TV series "Taxi," died of lung cancer in 1984 at 35.

The comedian's brother, Michael Kaufman, stirred controversy Monday during the annual Andy Kaufman Awards at the Gotham Comedy Club. He introduced a woman who he claimed was his brother's daughter at the event and read a letter he claimed was left for him by Andy Kaufman in 1999.

The Smoking Gun reported Thursday that the woman was actually actress Alexandra Tatarsky, 24, whom Michael Kaufman met earlier this year while she worked at Manhattan gallery that exhibited items from Andy Kaufman's life. 

Michael Kaufman told CNN by Thursday that he had been hoodwinked and was the victim of a scam. He blamed Tatarsky for the incident.

"Now that it's Thursday, not Monday anymore, I believe I am part of a hoax," Kaufman said in an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN's "The Lead." "I don't believe (Tatarsky's) acting on her own, though. But, you know, that's all I know."

Lawler said he had mixed emotion about twist and turns of the story.

"I would like nothing better than to know that Andy was still alive and been with us all this time," Lawler told the Los Angeles Times. "But like anybody else, I really don't know any more than what I've heard. It could be a great hoax in his honor, dreamed up by his friend Bob Zmuda and his brother, Michael. That would be something that would be in keeping with Andy's tradition, but who's to say. It could really be legit."

Lawler's relationship with Kaufman was built on ruse back in the 1980s. The two men created a feud starting with Kaufman's fake wrestling matches with women. Lawler and Kaufman had several wrestling matches and pretending to be bitter enemies when in reality they were friends. 

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