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Andy Kaufman’s Daughter Hoax was a ruse perpetrated by New York-based actress Alexandra Tatarsky, who claimed to be the daughter of deceased American comedian Andy Kaufman and asserted that he was still alive during the closing ceremony of the 9th Annual Andy Kaufman Awards held in November 2013. Though eventually revealed as a hoax, Tatarsky’s claim quickly rekindled the enduring celebrity rumor that the comedian never died of lung cancer and faked his own death in May of 1984.
On November 11th, 2013, Michael Kaufman read a letter allegedly written by his brother Andy at the Andy Kaufman Awards in New York City, claiming that he was still alive and living in seclusion with a woman with whom he’d had a daughter. Kaufman subsequently invited Tatarsky onstage, who claimed to be the daughter of Kaufman and that the comedian had staged his own death before going into hiding in May of 1984.
On November 12th, Andy Kaufman Awards finalist Killy Dwyer posted a Facebook status update commenting on Tatarsky’s appearance at the award show, referring to it as a “mindfuck.”
The same day, the comedy news blog The Comic’s Comic published an article about the event. On the following day, the celebrity news blog TMZ posted a video of Tatarsky speaking at the Andy Kaufman Awards.
On November 14th, The Smoking Gun reported that Tatarsky was an actress recruited by Kaufman to pose as his brother’s daughter after the pair met earlier in the year at a Manhattan art gallery exhibition featuring artifacts from the late comedian’s life. In the coming days, several news sites reported on the hoax, including Gawker,USA Today, Fox News, New York Daily News, Snopes and The Daily Mail.
Michael Kaufman’s Response
Also on November 14th, The Hollywood Reporter published an article about the hoax, which included a quote from Michael Kaufman claiming he had been “misquoted.”
“I think I’ve been misquoted, OK? I never came out with, ’He’s alive.’ I’m as skeptical as anybody else.”
The Smoking Gun – Shocker – Andy Kaufmans daughter is actually a New York actress
The Comic’s Comic – Woman claiming to be Andy Kaufmans daughter upstages 2013 Andy Kaufman Awards