Comedian Andy Kaufman, who died in 1984 at 35, is still alive, says a woman claiming to be his daughter. Conspiracy theorists have long thought Kaufman faked his own death.
(Photo: Paul Drinkwater, NBC)
UPDATE: Reports are surfacing that say the woman claiming to be Kaufman's daughter could be a New York actress named Alexandra Tatarsky.CinemaBlend points out the resemblance of the woman to a photo of the actress on a theater website, and The Smoking Gun reports she met Michael Kaufman at a New York gallery featuring a collection of "artifacts" from Andy Kaufman's life and planned the stunt with him.
Gawker found her biography, which notes that the actress is "inspired by Russian absurdism" - Kaufman could also be said to be an absurdist.
Tatarsky's actual father? A psychologist.
Over at The Hollywood Reporter, Michael postponed a second interview with the publication after news of Tatarsky's involvement broke. He apologized for the delay. "This is so, like, out of my league what's going on here," he said of the overwhelming media attention he's garnered.
"I think I've been misquoted, OK?" Kaufman told THR. "I never came out with, 'He's alive.' I'm as skeptical as anybody else."
However, Al Parinello, producer of the Andy Kaufman Awards, previously told THR, "I can tell you without a doubt this was not a prank."
ORIGINAL POST: Is Andy Kaufman still alive? If you believe a woman claiming to be his daughter, he could be.
Conspiracy theorists have long posited that the comedian, who died in 1984 at 35 of lung cancer, faked his death. And an announcement at the annual Andy Kaufman Awards, held in New York, has brought the theory back into the public eye.
The woman told the audience - gathered to celebrate performers who embody the spirit of the comedian - that her father was still very much alive and that he had faked his death to escape the limelight and be a stay-at-home dad for her and her siblings. She also said he wanted to make an appearance at the awards ceremony, but ended up deciding not to come. TMZ has video of the talk.
"I don't know how much longer he can keep everything away," she said.
She appeared on stage with Kaufman's brother, Michael, who asked her questions as she happily responded, repeatedly pushing her brown hair behind her ears.
Michael also reportedly told a story about his brother reaching out to him in 1999 to meet for dinner, but he was stood up at a restaurant - with the exception of a note that revealed Kaufman had faked his death. It's unconfirmed whether Michael definitively believes his brother is alive or dead, but reports say Michael concluded at the end of the story that his brother is alive.
Kaufman has one known child: daughter Maria Colonna, who lives in upstate New York, according to The Huffington Post, and occasionally consults about her late father's death. But it appears she was not involved in this announcement.
The woman reportedly claimed to be 24 years old - if you do the math, it puts her birth years after Kaufman's death. She's also reportedly a theater student, according to People magazine.
Kaufman was famous for his work on Saturday Night Live and Taxi, but also for odd behavior. He also reportedly spoke often of faking his own death.
No one has confirmed that this woman is actually Kaufman's daughter, nor that her story is truthful.