Monday, 25 November 2013

If you believe there's nothing up his sleeve, then nothing is cool.


Allow me to introduce you to someone. This is Andy Kaufman:

Andy Kaufman January 17, 1949 – May 16, 1984 (???)

You may never have heard of Andy Kaufman but doubtless if you spend any amount of time on the internet you will have heard his name mentioned. Why is this I hear you ask...? Well, there is a tale going round at the moment that Andy Kaufman is, in fact, ALIVE!

"Why do I even care" I hear you ask. Well, Kaufman was the type of comedian that was as loved as he was hated. He didn't actually even consider himself to be a comedian, more a "song and dance man" doing impersonations of Elvis Presley and singing his famous Mighty Mouse song!

Many people didn't know quite how to take Kaufman. He often staged elaborate pranks that were so convoluted that even most of the participants didn't know they were involved! It is alleged that comedian Sacha Baron Cohen takes his comedy style directly from Kaufman.

Kaufman also had several stage "personas" namely Latka Gravas, best known from Taxi and Tony Clifton the lounge singer.

Once again I hear your confusion "If he was so famous, why would he fake his own death?" Kaufman is alleged to have told his sidekick and co-writer Bob Zmuda that he wished to fake his own death. Being the kind of prankster that he was, it wouldn't be too difficult to believe that is what happened.

Bob Zmuda

He told Bob that he would fake his death and return 20 years later which would have been in 2004.

Kaufman is recorded as being deceased having died from a rare type of lung cancer. During his performances in the lead up to his death audiences were shocked at his gaunt appearance. He acknowledged he had an "unspecified illness" which he hoped to cure through Transcendental Medicine. Kaufman meditated and performed yoga believing these would help him live.

According to the coroner's report, on 16 May 1984 Andy Kaufman died of kidney failure caused by metastasized large-cell lung carcinoma. He was just 35 years of age.

Kaufman's death certificate

So that's it then? Surely he's dead right? Possibly! Even probably. It is an interesting story nonetheless! 

"Tony Clifton" continued to perform for a year after Andy's death. Bob Zmuda is known to have stepped into "Tony's" shoes once in a while, even managing to fool David Letterman! Many have speculated that this was, in fact, still Kaufman. 

The 1999 film Man on The Moon gave a good insight into Kaufman's life and the lead up to his death. Kaufman was played by none other than Jim Carey! Also in 1999, Zmuda wrote a book about Kaufman called Andy Kaufman Revealed! The book claims to reveal many of the hoaxes put together by the pair in the 80s. The book has been praised and slated by many. 

Man On The Moon Poster

"So, why all the fuss now then?" Well dear reader, at the Andy Kaufman Award ceremony this past week presented by Kaufman's brother Michael, a young girl came forward claiming to be Andy's daughter. Take a look at the video below and judge for yourself. Conveniently she looks nervous. This could be attributed to either her being in on the hoax and uncomfortable with it or because she actually IS Andy's daughter...! Quite the plot!  Do you think she is telling the truth?

The rumour has apparently since been debunked by many as another elaborate hoax from Kaufman from beyond the grave. The woman in the video is allegedly American actress Alexandra Tatarsky. The general public are unsure if Kaufman left specific instructions from beyond the grave instructing Michael to carry out this hoax, if Alexandra is REALLY his daughter or if Andy is actually still alive and is simply poking fun at us all. Either way I'd say it was pretty genius and wouldn't put either scenario past the man!! 

Michael Kaufman has since claimed that he was also duped. He appeared on CNN's The Lead With Jake Tapper where he revealed "Now that it's Thursday, not Monday anymore, I believe I am part of the hoax." Speaking of Andy's alleged daughter "I don't believe she's acting on her own though. But, you know, that's all I know." Michael then went on to say "The legacy he's leaving behind is beautiful, regardless of what is the truth with all this."

Michael Kaufman

Of course, faking your own death is never acceptable, under any circumstances. Think of the emotional turmoil this would cause if his death really IS a ruse. It is alleged that Andy has waited until now to "return from the dead" as his father passed away in July. Others say that Michael waited until now to conduct this prank for the same reason. People are often given new identities in order to live life without threat of harm but I'm pretty sure these identities are not just handed out willy nilly to celebs who have simply had enough! 

Lynne Margulies (2004)

Kaufman's girlfriend at the time of his death has also come forward with her own story.  Lynne Margulies  told TMZ magazine, "I was in the hospital room. I was there. They would have had to switch bodies." She was with him when he passed along with his manager, George Shapiro. Both believe this to be an elaborate ruse created by Michael.

Now, for those of you in the know, Kaufman did actually sire a daughter. Her name is Maria Bellu-Colonna. Maria was born in 1969 out of wedlock to a high school girlfriend and later put up for adoption. Bellu-Colonna only found out in 1992 that she was, in fact, the daughter of Kaufman.

Maria Bellu-Colonna

Kaufman will not be the only "celebrity" accused of faking his own death. Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Tupac Shakur are to name but a few. Then, of course, there are those who are declared dead whilst sitting at home or down the pub none the wiser. Below are a few responses from the "deceased".

Jon Bon Jovi

Bill Cosby

Russell Crowe

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson


Hugh "Playboy" Hefner

So, that's the news on Andy Kaufman. Dead or alive, he is still creating a storm!! However things pan out, Andy giving his brother Michael these instructions before his death, Michael paying homage to his late brother or Andy still being alive, none of it would actually be surprising which is the genius behind the whole thing!! 

I'm pretty sure he's goofing on Elvis (hey baby) wherever he is!! 

See you in Heaven if you make the list! 

Keep Smiling :):

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