Once again, the rumor that legendary comic Andy Kaufman is still alive is gaining steam almost 30 years after his ‘death’. I put ‘death’ in quotes because for these 30 years, it is exceedingly obvious that no one really knows the truth about if he actually died or if he faked his death.
For those of you unfamiliar, Kaufman was a comic who in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s took the world by storm with his innovative and irreverent acts, performance art, and elaborate pranks. Watch these videos here, here and here to get a taste of his act. Oh, and he also starred on one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1980’s, Taxi.
So this week at the 9th Annual Andy Kaufman Awards ceremony, which honors up and coming comics, the rumor of his faked death was re-invigorated yet again:
During the closing ceremony, Kaufman’s brother Michael took the stage during the closing ceremonies to once again address the rumors that his brother had not passed away from lung cancer in 1984, but was actually alive, and living in obscurity.
Michael shared a story of finding his brother’s elaborate plans to fake his own death after Andy had passed on, along with a note that he would reappear on Christmas Eve 1999 at his favorite restaurant. Michael went to the restaurant, and though Andy never showed, a letter was handed to him that explained that Andy had gone into hiding to live a normal life and now had a wife and daughter”but didn’t want anyone to find out while the Kaufmans’ father Stanley was still alive.
Stanley, who established the Andy Kaufman Awards nine years ago to recognize upcoming talent in the spirit of Andy (previous winners include Kristen Schaal and Reggie Watts), passed away this summer. According to Michael, a month afterwards, a 24-year old woman came forward to him, claiming that Andy had not died 29 years prior, was still very much alive, and quite grateful that the awards recognized young people who had been inspired by his work. The young woman, who was never named, came to the stage, though McCarthy doesn’t report her sharing any sort of story.
To paraphrase Verbal Kint: “The greatest trick Andy Kaufman ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”