Alexandra Tatarsky was the young woman who appeared at the Andy Kaufman Awards in 2013, claiming to be Andy’s daughter.
She was brought on stage by Andy’s brother, who talked about a mysterious letter he received a few years back, that he believed was from Andy.
At least two of the people recognized her from the “On Creating Reality” Andy Kaufman exhibit at the Maccarone Gallery in NYC 2013.
I have no desire to get into the middle of the controversy between Lynne [Margulies] and the Kaufmans. I have to say, however, that I’m confused by the thing with Michael and Andy’s “missing daughter.” Since the incident at the Awards last year, Michael has said things that seem to imply that he was duped by the young woman who claimed to be the daughter. I don’t see how that can be possible as she worked at the art gallery that hosted the exhibition about Andy last year which Michael and I were guests at (as was Lynne too). He and I both met her there. I recognized her immediately when I saw her on TV claiming to be Andy’s daughter. The logical conclusion would be that Michael and she cooked up the idea. No crime was committed so I don’t understand why he would deny that.
Lon Osgood (husband of Margulies):
I recognized her [Tatarsky] as well, she’s actually a very lovely soul.
I wasn’t happy before I met her [Tatarsky], but I think she was not— I was just going to say I don’t think she was in on it, but then again, maybe she was playing with me that night we met. Who knows? But it sounded like she was also, at least what she portrayed to me that night, that she was also hoaxed.
How could she have been hoaxed??
Al Parinello (Andy Kaufman Award executive producer) said that Michael Kaufman’s suspicions about his brother date back to approximately the late ’80s, when Michael discovered among Andy’s letters an elaborate plan for staging his own death.
They were heightened in 1999 when Michael received a letter alluding to a ‘traditional Christmas dinner,’ an inside joke between the siblings, and claiming that Andy was still alive and raising a daughter.
Correspondence has continued intermittently over the years, according to Parinello.
“I witnessed the entire thing and I can tell you without a doubt this was not a prank,” says Al Parinello, a lifelong friend of the comedian who produces the AK Awards.
Parinello, who met Kaufman when they were undergrads at Grahm Junior College in Boston, says he is convinced of the story’s veracity, even though he attended Kaufman’s funeral and saw his body with his own eyes.
“It was a closed casket,” he recalls. “Only the family actually saw the body.”
How then does he reconcile Monday’s events? “Andy was an aficionado of meditation,” he explains.
“One of the things Andy was taught at the highest level was a process where one could slow down his breath to a point where you can literally fool anyone that you may be dead when in fact you are alive.
So that’s the one thing that Michael checked for.”
Ed Cavanagh (Gotham Comedy Club, where the AK Awards were held)
“You could see by the look on [Michael’s] face that it had an emotional impact on him.
I don’t know whether somebody is perpetrating something on [Michael] or not.
I’m truly 50-50 on this one.”
Michael Kaufman is Andy’s younger brother, born two years later.
He met his wife Pru after she was hired to Warner Cable by Al Parinello.
Michael, an accounting and financial business consultant who was a stand-up comedian from 1983 to 1985, remembers working with his brother at a show at William Paterson University (then called William Paterson College) on April 29, 1982.
“Andy wanted to franchise Tony Cliftons,” says Michael Kaufman, who actually played Clifton during the Carnegie Hall show where Andy and Tony sung on stage together. “He wanted a Tony Clifton in every state.”
In Michael’s collection is a wonderful series of communications where Andy went to visit a girl who was dying. She was a fan of his, and when his plane was delayed in Chicago on its way to Washington, he drove out to Demotte, Indiana, to visit her.
“Word got out at the hospital and Andy wrestled three people. I have pictures. They were supposedly nurses and maybe one patient’s mother. It’s the only time he ever lost a match. He let them beat him. And then there’s a letter from the mother, thanking Andy for doing that. Seven weeks after his visit, she died. That whole correspondence will be there. Andy never told anyone about that. I only knew about it because I went through the stuff.”
In 1981, Andy received a letter from the mother of an Indiana fan, a terminally ill young woman with cystic fibrosis, whom Andy visited in the hospital. Her mother thanked him for brightening her daughter’s final days. The daughter’s name was Mary Jean Burden.
“This is the side of him nobody knows,” says Michael, who wishes the writers of “Man on the Moon” had put that in the movie. “When I read the script and Andy died, I said, ‘Who cares?’ It didn’t move me that he died, and he’s my brother. I didn’t see the heart in the movie.”
Many folks believe that Michael Kaufman arranged the daughter prank at the Andy Kaufman Awards in November, 2013. Bob Pagani says he and Michael met Alexandra Tatarsky her during the exhibit, because she worked at the gallery.
Michael said, “I wasn’t happy before I met her, but I think she was not— I was just going to say I don’t think she was in on it, but then again, maybe she was playing with me that night we met. Who knows? But it sounded like she was also, at least what she portrayed to me that night, that she was also hoaxed.”
How could Michael have been fooled? How could she have been hoaxed??