After suggesting the late comedian actually faked his death and is currently living with a woman with whom he had a daughter, Michael Kaufman is now backtracking, telling The Hollywood Reporter that it's all a big misunderstanding.
"I think I've been misquoted, OK?" Michael said in a brief interview. "I never came out with, 'He's alive.' I'm as skeptical as anybody else."
Kaufman's sibling sparked the "Andy's alive" rumors Monday night at the ninth annual Andy Kaufman Awards at New York City's Gotham Comedy Club. Per Comic's Comic, he told the crowd that he wasn't too sure the Taxi star truly died of complications from lung cancer on May 16, 1984.
That's because while cleaning out Kaufman's belonging after his death, he said he came across some writings in which the funnyman—who was famous for his put-ons—wrote how he'd use transcendental meditation to fake his death so he could "go into hiding and live a normal life." The type-written letter, he said, also alleged that Kaufman had found love with a woman and raised a daughter.
Michael then asked attendees whether the young woman might be in the audience, at which point a 24-year-old stood up and claimed to be Kaufman's spawn and said "Andy "really considered" coming out to the ceremony, but he's "basically a stay-at-home dad." Of course, Michael didn't bother to ask her exactly how the quirky comedian could have even fathered a 24-year-old daughter considering he died 29 years ago.
The Smoking Gun has since reported that the woman in question is actually a 24-year-old actress named Alexandra Tatarsky, whom Michael met while she worked at a Manhattan gallery that exhibited a collection of Kaufman's "ephemera and artifacts."
Per the site, Michael recruited her to play the part of Andy's offspring (in reality, Kaufman actually does have a daughter, Maria Bellu-Colonna, born in 1969). The site also noted Tatarsky's real dad is a 58-year-old psychologist.
Tatarsky could not be reached for comment.
As for Andy's sibling, he admitted all the media attention his story about the purported letter generated has left him feeling a little stunned. "This is so, like, out of my league what's going on here," he told the THR.