61 Facts About Andy Kaufman


Andrew Geoffrey Kaufman was an American entertainer and performance artist.


Andy Kaufman was a frequent guest on sketch comedy and late-night talk shows, particularly Late Night with David Letterman.


In 1982, Andy Kaufman brought his professional wrestling villain act to Letterman's show by way of a staged encounter with Jerry "The King" Lawler of the Continental Wrestling Association.


Andy Kaufman died of lung cancer on May 16,1984, at the age of 35.


Andy Kaufman continues to be respected for the variety of his characters, his uniquely counterintuitive approach to comedy, and his willingness to provoke negative and confused reactions from audiences.


Andy Kaufman was born on January 17,1949, in New York City, the oldest of three children.


Andy Kaufman grew up with his younger brother Michael and sister Carol in a middle-class Jewish family in Great Neck, Long Island.


Andy Kaufman's mother was Janice, a homemaker and former fashion model, and his father was Stanley Kaufman, a jewelry salesman.


Andy Kaufman began performing at children's birthday parties at age 9, playing records and showing cartoons.


Andy Kaufman spent much of his youth writing poetry and stories, including an unpublished novel, The Hollering Mangoo, which he completed at age 16.


Andy Kaufman first received major attention for his character Foreign Man, who spoke in a meek, high-pitched, heavily accented voice and claimed to be from "Caspiar", a fictional island in the Caspian Sea.


Andy Kaufman proceeded to tell a few jokes and concluded his act with a series of celebrity impersonations, with the comedy arising from the character's obviously hopeless ineptitude at impersonation.


Andy Kaufman first used his Foreign Man character in nightclubs in the early 1970s, often to tell jokes incorrectly and do weak imitations of famous people before bursting into his Elvis Presley imitation.


Andy Kaufman disliked sitcoms and was not happy with the idea of being in one, but Shapiro convinced him that it would quickly lead to stardom, which would earn him money he could then put into his own act.


Andy Kaufman agreed to appear in 14 episodes per season, and he initially wanted four for Andy Kaufman's alter ego Tony Clifton.


Andy Kaufman's character was given multiple personality disorder, which allowed Kaufman to randomly portray other characters.


In one episode of Taxi, Andy Kaufman's character came down with a condition that made him act like Alex Rieger, the main character played by Judd Hirsch.


Sam Simon, who early in his career was a writer and later showrunner for Taxi, stated in a 2013 interview on Marc Maron's WTF podcast that the story of Andy Kaufman having been generally disruptive on the show was "a complete fiction" largely created by Zmuda.


Andy Kaufman was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television for Taxi in 1979 and 1981.


Sometimes it was Andy Kaufman performing as Clifton, sometimes it was his brother Michael or Zmuda.


News programs interviewed Clifton as Andy Kaufman's opening act, with the mood turning ugly whenever Andy Kaufman's name came up.


Andy Kaufman, Clifton insisted, was attempting to ruin Clifton's "good name" in order to make money and become famous.


Andy Kaufman explained this incident on the February 17,1982, episode of Late Night with David Letterman.


Andy Kaufman said that he had apologized because he disagreed with how Presley was portrayed in the sketch, which involved Presley instructing two young women from his audience to visit him backstage, where they would wrestle topless in mud.


Andy Kaufman said that he initially declined to perform the sketch but was pressured into it.


Andy Kaufman alleged that SNL staff threatened to ruin his reputation in the industry if he did not perform the sketch.


Andy Kaufman said that Goldman threatened to sue him after the episode aired, but Andy Kaufman challenged Goldman to a public debate on Presley's character.


At the beginning of an April 1979 performance at New York's Carnegie Hall, Andy Kaufman invited his "grandmother" to watch the show from a chair that he had placed at the side of the stage.


Andy Kaufman had an elderly woman pretend to have a heart attack and die on stage, after which he reappeared on stage wearing a Native American headdress and performing a dance over her body, "reviving" her.


Andy Kaufman ended the show by taking the entire audience, in 24 buses, for milk and cookies.


Andy Kaufman invited anyone interested to meet him on the Staten Island Ferry the next morning, where the show continued.


Andy Kaufman proposed Andy's Funhouse, based on a routine that he had developed while in junior college.


In March 1980, Andy Kaufman filmed a short segment for an ABC show called Buckshot.


Andy Kaufman then proceeded to thank the audience for watching and the credits rolled.


In 1981, Andy Kaufman made three appearances on Fridays, a variety show on ABC that was similar to Saturday Night Live.


Andy Kaufman broke character first, announcing that he "felt stupid" and refusing to say his lines.


Andy Kaufman appeared the next week in a videotaped "apology" to the home viewers.


Andy Kaufman then talked to the audience about his newfound faith in Jesus, but the scene was a hoax.


Andy Kaufman made 16 SNL appearances in all, doing routines from his comedy act, such as the Mighty Mouse singalong, Foreign Man, and the Elvis impersonation.


Andy Kaufman appeared in his first theatrical film, God Told Me To, in 1976, in which he portrayed a murderous policeman.


Andy Kaufman appeared in two other theatrical films, including the 1980 film In God We Tru$t, in which he played a televangelist, and the 1981 film Heartbeeps, in which he played a robot.


In 1983, Andy Kaufman appeared on Broadway with Deborah Harry in the play Teaneck Tanzi: The Venus Flytrap.


Andy Kaufman offered a $1,000 prize to any woman who could pin him.


Andy Kaufman employed performance artist Laurie Anderson, a friend of his, in this act for a while.


Andy Kaufman taunted the residents of Memphis by playing "videos showing residents how to use soap" and proclaiming the city to be "the nation's redneck capital".


For some time after that first match, Andy Kaufman appeared wearing a neck brace, insisting that his injuries were much worse than they really were.


Andy Kaufman continued to defend the Inter-Gender Championship in the Mid-South Coliseum and offered an extra prize, other than the $1,000: that if he were pinned, the woman who pinned him would get to marry him and that Andy Kaufman would shave his head.


Andy Kaufman said that Kaufman's furious tirade and performance on Letterman was Kaufman's own idea, including when Lawler slapped Kaufman out of his chair.


Andy Kaufman appeared in the 1983 film My Breakfast with Blassie with professional wrestling personality "Classy" Freddie Blassie.


In 2002, Andy Kaufman became a playable character in the video game Legends of Wrestling II and a standard character in 2004's Showdown: Legends of Wrestling.


On March 20,2023, Andy Kaufman was announced as the third inductee into the 2023 WWE Hall of Fame.


Andy Kaufman soon reunited with her mother, grandfather, uncle and aunt.


Andy Kaufman kept his personal life secret and instead engaged in pranks and stunts to further obscure it, such as claiming in a September 22,1983, appearance on David Letterman's show to have adopted three sons.


Andy Kaufman claimed that he had been coughing for nearly a month, visited his doctor, and was told that nothing was wrong.


Andy Kaufman received palliative radiotherapy, but by then the cancer had spread from his lungs to his brain.


Andy Kaufman often spoke of faking his own death as a grand hoax, with rumors persisting, often fueled by sporadic appearances of Andy Kaufman's character Tony Clifton at comedy clubs after his death.


Andy Kaufman dedicated her 1986 Showtime special Party of One to Kaufman.


An audio recording of Andy Kaufman offering encouragement to Boosler is featured in the intro.


Andy Kaufman is one of the featured celebrities in the 2005 children's book Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes.


On June 20,2019, it was announced that Andy Kaufman would be honored with a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the television category.


On March 20,2023, Andy Kaufman was inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the celebrity wing of the class of 2023.