Andy Kaufman’s brother now claims he was the victim of a hoax


Los Angeles Times

NEW YORK – In what may be the least surprising development of the week, Andy Kaufman’s brother Michael, who appeared onstage in New York on Monday with a woman claiming to be the late comedian’s daughter, now claims he is the victim of a hoax.

Rumors that Kaufman staged his own demise and was now a family man living under an assumed identity, possibly in Albuquerque, have stubbornly persisted since the “Taxi” star succumbed to kidney failure related to a rare form of lung cancer in 1984. The conspiracy theory lit up the Internet this week after a young woman came forward at the Andy Kaufman Awards claiming the comedian is still alive and that she is his daughter.

As recently as Thursday morning, the surviving Kaufman was receptive to the idea that his brother might still be alive (or was at least pretending to be). Then the website the Smoking Gun reported that Andy Kaufman’s “daughter” is actually a New York actress named Alexandra Tatarsky, recruited by Michael after meeting at an exhibit earlier this year. The Los Angeles County Coroner also re-released Kaufman’s death certificate, saying in a statement, “He is dead.”

On Thursday afternoon, Michael Kaufman appeared on CNN’s “The Lead With Jake Tapper,” where he denied conspiring with Tatarsky and said he was the victim of an elaborate stunt.

“Now that it’s Thursday, not Monday anymore, I believe I am part of a hoax,” he said, adding that he thought Tatarsky was not the lone gunman (so to speak). “I don’t believe she’s acting on her own, though. But, you know, that’s all I know.”

As have others, Tapper suggested that the whole incident was staged as “bizarre homage” to Andy Kaufman’s work, which often blurred the line between comedy and performance art, and said he found it “difficult to believe” that Michael Kaufman wasn’t somehow involved in the ruse.

‘The legacy’s he’s leaving behind is beautiful, regardless of what is the truth with all this,” Michael Kaufman said.


©2013 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at

Distributed by MCT Information Services

KeyWords:: BC-TV-KAUFMAN:LA BC TV KAUFMAN LA AMX-2013-11-15T12:40:00-05:00

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • La vida local

    Emilio Estefan ready to party; composers talk ‘Dora & Friends’; ‘Love Boat’ reunion

    Jamie King, writer and director of Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour and Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson One in Vegas, has teamed with Emilio Estefan and executive producer Bernie Yuman to develop, produce, choreograph and score the massive spring 2015 grand opening gala of the hyper luxe Nassau resort Baha Mar.

  • Celebrity birthdays on Aug 30

    Actor Bill Daily is 87. Actress Elizabeth Ashley is 75. Actor Ben Jones is 73. Actress Peggy Lipton is 67. Comedian Lewis Black is 66. Actor Michael Chiklis is 51. Country singer Sherrie Austin is 43. Rock singer-musician Lars Frederiksen (Rancid) is 43. Actress Cameron Diaz is 42. TV personality Lisa Ling is 41. Rock musician Ryan Ross is 28.

  • As seen on TV

    Elizabeth Hurley steps into ‘Royals’ role

    Move over Helen Mirren, there’s a new queen in town — Elizabeth Hurley.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category