After iconic entertainer Andy Kaufman died of a rare form of lung cancer in 1984, there have been numerous conspiracy theories and rumors that the comedian faked his own death since, with the latest emerging during this week’s annual Andy Kaufman Awards in New York City.
Alongside Andy's brother Michael, an unnamed woman, claiming to be the late actor's daughter, declared that Kaufman was still alive, and that he'd planned to reveal himself at the event, but got cold feet at the last minute.
Below is a TMZ clip of the revelation:
The wide-eyed, rambling woman claimed that Kaufman has been spending his time being a stay-at-home dad, enjoying a quiet life outside the limelight. Michael Kaufman gave her a hug and allowed her to leave the stage quietly, before asking audience members to leave her be.
Andrew Geoffrey “Andy” Kaufman (January 17, 1949 – May 16, 1984) described himself as being a “song-and-dance man.” Along with his role as Latka Gravas on the ABC sitcom "Taxi," elaborate ruses, pranks and epic performance art pieces were major elements of his career. His career maintains a cult following and he continues to be revered for his original material, style and unflinching commitment to character.
Kaufman had reportedly been open about his Machiavellian plan to fake his own death, and during the NYC awards segment, his brother said he still wasn’t sure if the actor was alive or not. Such outlandish theories sadly might make a bit of sense to a family member, considering how far Andy Kaufman would take some of his performance installations, as seen in his clip with wrestler Jerry "The King" Lawler below:
After being diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer in 1983, Kaufman hoped to find a cure in “natural medicine,” which included a diet of fruits and vegetables exclusively. Kaufman also received standard palliative radiotherapy, but by that time the cancer had already spread from his lungs to his brain. His final attempt at a cure came through “psychic surgery,” a New Age procedure that was performed in Baguio, Philippines, in March 1984. This attempt was related in the 1999 Milos Forman biopic on Kaufman, "Man on the Moon," starring Jim Carrey.
Kaufman passed away in a hospital in West Hollywood on May 16, 1984, of kidney failure, caused by metastasized large-cell lung carcinoma. He was 35 years old.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.