Even from beyond the grave, Andy Kaufman can pull off hoaxes: The young woman who earlier this week claimed to be famed (and deceased) comedian Andy Kaufman's 24-year-old daughter is a 23-year old New York-based actress named Alexandra Tatarsky—whose father is a doctor, not a comic visionary.
Tatarsky came forward at this week's Andy Kaufman Awards at Gotham Comedy Club, alleging that Kaufman had not actually died from cancer, but had gone underground in search of a normal life. After TMZ posted video last night of Tatarsky on stage with Kaufman's brother Michael, CinemaBlend got on the case and pointed out, using a photo from a theater company's website, that the girl in question bore more than a passing resemblance to Tatarsky. Her Facebook photos show a similar resemblance.
Tatarsky, who grew up in New York City and then moved to Portland to attend Reed College, is an actress with an interest in absurdism—an interest Kaufman shared, to say the least. According to her biography, "her work is often inspired by Russian absurdism, messianic yearning and alchemical failures." She was also an editor of the Reed College Erotic Review, and a Sinai Scholar.
The Smoking Gun reported that a source close to Tatarsky claims that she met Kaufman's brother Michael while she was working at the Maccarone Gallery in New York, which was hosting an Andy Kaufman exhibit entitled "On Creating Reality." Michael recruited Tatarsky to play the role of the daughter, and the rest was hoax history. According to the exhibit's Facebook page, Andy's frequent prank collaborator (known for helping Andy create a fake comedian Tony Clifton, who would often open for him, and poorly) Bob Zmuda was at the exhibit multiple times, including in its last days. Michael appeared at the gallery often as well, including the exhibit's closing day of February 23, so the hoax had likely been in the works since February of this year. Michael claimed on stage at the awards show that the "daughter" only came forward after his father Stanley's passing, which ocurred in late July. Whether the elder Kaufman was in on the prank is unknown.
Tatarsky's actual father is a prominent psychologist working in substance abuse therapy. Calls to Tatarsky's friends and family, as well as the Maccarone Gallery were not immediately returned.
[Image via Getty, Art by Sam Woolley]