The legacy of Andy Kaufman, whether he is truly alive or dead, is one of a man who lived to do performance art. Because of this, rumors of his death being faked will always have some credence and will simultaneously seem like so much bull.
For years “Elvis Lives” was a great slogan and provided endless opportunities for ‘Elvis sightings’ at every truck-stop, diner and all-you-can-eat buffet the world over. Although, given his health at the time and intense fame, it doesn’t seem likely that his death was anything of a hoax.
Conversely, Andy was much younger, had a fakable illness and wasn’t so famous that he would be recognizable anywhere. Not only that, I can see him getting tired of having to ‘be’ Andy Kaufman all the time and wanting to take time off. That’s the problem with performance art: if it consumes your life, there’s no time when you can ever really be yourself.
There’s new evidence surfacing that Kaufman may yet have pulled off his last, and greatest, prank. This week, at the Andy Kaufman Annual Award Show for young comedians Monday night in New York City, Andy’s brother, Michael poured it on thick. He said that Kaufman had planned faking his death for some time and even left a letter for Michael declaring that he would re-appear at his favorite restaurant on Christmas Eve 1999.
When Michael went to the restaurant, he was given a letter…
“It was too much pressure to be Andy Kaufman. I just wanted to be Andy,” Michael Kaufman read. “I think that’s why I got sick. I had to change completely and quickly. I’m extremely very happily married with the most wonderful wife in the whole wide world and with the two greatest kids: a 10-year-old daughter and a son who is 8.”
A woman was then brought on stage claiming to be that 10 year old daughter – now 24 years old.
CNN has the best reporting of this whole affair that I have read so far, although many others carry the story as well (and some with great posts in the comment sections).
Michael claims that the girl shared a number of secrets about Andy and his relationship that were very convincing – unfortunately, that just leads us to believe that he, too, is part of the hoax.