Legendary entertainer Andy Kaufman most certainly died of lung cancer in 1984, according to his last girlfriend Lynne Margulies, who says she watched him die.
“I was in the hospital room. I was there,” Margulies, 56, told TMZ. “They would have had to switch the bodies.”
The Internet exploded yesterday after a mysterious 24-year old woman appeared at the Andy Kaufman Awards in New York City, and claimed Kaufman is not only alive and well, but that she is his daughter. The awards were hosted by Andy’s brother Michael Kaufman, who appeared surprised by the woman’s attendance and asked questions about Andy’s current condition.
According to TMZ, Margulies believes the so-called “daughter” was merely “pulling an Andy” and that Michael assisted in the gag, which perpetuates the decades-long rumor that Andy was interested in faking his own death.
The Smoking Gun corroborates Lynne’s speculation, and reported late yesterday that the 24-year-old woman is, in fact, a New York City actress named Alexandra Tatarsky. The site claims Tatarsky met Michael Kaufman earlier this year at an exhibit of the “Taxi” actor’s memorabilia. Her real father is a psychologist specializing in substance abuse treatment.
If Michael was in on the hoax, he’s still not budging – Andy’s little brother appeared on CNN claiming that he’s just as shocked as anyone by the recent turn of events.
“I believe that I am part of the hoax. I don’t believe that she’s acting on her own though. That’s all I know,” Michael said. He later added, “I’m still processing it. As Andy’s brother, you learn over the years, you know, to go with the flow, kind of. So I have mixed emotions. I never allowed myself to get too excited, but I was always slightly skeptical.”
When asked point-blank if he had hired an actress to pull off this prank, Michael said, “That is not true.” He even adds his own evidence pointing to Andy’s death 29 years ago: “I saw him emaciated. I saw him die.”
Both Lynne Margulies and Michael Kaufman were featured in the 1999 movie “Man on the Moon,” which starred Jim Carrey as Andy, and chronicled the showman’s rise to fame, as well as his often self-destructive dedication to his unorthodox performance art and characters. The film included an infamous 1981 incident in which Andy broke character during a sketch on the series “Fridays,” and proceeded to scuffle with the show’s producer on live TV.
Margulies and Michael Kaufman were portrayed by Courtney Love and Michael Kelly, respectively.
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