Michael Kaufman, brother of the late comedian Andy Kaufman, took the stage at the annual Andy Kaufman Awards Monday night and said that Andy sent him a letter in 1999 saying that he was living a quiet life with his wife and daughter. Then, a woman claiming to be Andy Kaufman’s 24-year-old daughter, which would make her born four years after his death, went onstage and had a conversation with Michael Kaufman.
As you can assume with “Andy Kaufman is alive” stuff, it turns out the whole thing was a hoax.
The Smoking Gun uncovered the true identity of “Kaufman’s daughter.” She’s a 24-year-old New York actress named Alexandra Tatarsky and her real father is a doctor in New York, not Andy Kaufman who is still dead. Michael Kaufman recruited Tatarsky to play his late brother’s daughter after meeting her at a Manhattan gallery displaying an Andy Kaufman exhibit earlier this year. Andy Kaufman does have one non-fictional daughter, who was born in 1969.
The Comic’s Comic originally reported on the stunt. Onstage, Michael Kaufman said that he found an essay Andy Kaufman wrote while cleaning out his stuff after his death. Michael said in the essay, Andy explained that he wanted to fake his death and that he would reappear at a specific restaurant on Christmas Eve 1999. Michael claims he went to the restaurant, didn’t find his brother there, but was handed a letter from Andy saying that he wanted to step away from the entertainment industry and had fallen in love with a woman and raised a daughter with her. After Michael Kaufman talked about the letter, Tatarsky appeared with him onstage (video below) as Andy’s daughter, not mentioning her name and explaining that her father “just wanted to be a stay-at-home dad.” She also mentioned that he watched all the Andy Kaufman Awards videos on YouTube and cares a lot about the awards show, so much so that he almost came down to the theater. After Tatarsky’s appearance, Michael Kaufman asked the audience to respect her privacy and not follow her home — home, of course, being a place where she does not live with Andy Kaufman because he passed away in 1984.
Just another Andy Kaufman hoax, albeit one that came from a new source: his brother. Nothing to see here, folks.