Was it a publicity stunt? If so, what was being publicized?
Andy Kaufman’s brother has come forward to claim that the cult comedian did not die of lung cancer in 1984, but rather faked his own death. This might just be the strangest piece of news to come out this week. Michael Kaufman made a much talked about appearance at an awards show, named in Andy’s honor. During his speech, Kaufman claimed that the comedian was alive and that he had, in fact received a letter from the Taxi star in 1999.
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But the controversial claims didn’t stop there. Andy’s younger brother then went on to introduce a young woman, who introduced herself as Kaufman’s 24-year-old daughter. The woman’s age would place her birth about five years after Kaufman’s death. According to a report by BBC News, the woman claimed that Kaufman created the elaborate hoax of his death just so he could be a stay-at home dad.
"He just wanted to be a stay-at-home dad, that's why he wanted to leave the showbiz," she explained at the New York event. "He's pretty much a great dad, and raised us. My mom has her own business... He helps her with that kind of thing, paperwork and stuff, so he can work from home and he doesn't have to be hiding out [or] concealing himself."
While that would make for a heartwarming, if a bit disconcerting story, evidence has bow cropped up that the unnamed woman might be a New York actress, whose father is a doctor. This according to The Smoking Gun – the website claims that the woman is actually Sarah Taratski – an actress, who met Michael Kaufman earlier this year “while working at a Manhattan gallery exhibiting a collection of Kaufman “ephemera and artifacts” from the comedian’s personal and professional life.”
The report is yet to be confirmed. Andy Kaufman only has one (confirmed) daughter, who was born in 1969. The question now is, what could Michael Kaufman stand to gain from the stunt, besides some temporary publicity?