Bizarre - if true: Andy Kaufman still alive?

When Andy Kaufman, the stand-up comic, sometime professional wrestler, and star of the sitcom "Taxi" died of lung cancer in 1984 at the age of 35, many of his devoted fans didn't believe it. They thought that the quirky comedian had faked his own death in order to get out of the public eye.

People scoffed at that notion - then. But when Andy's brother Michael appeared at the annual Andy Kaufman Awards in New York City on Monday, he shocked the audience by giving credence to the notion that Kaufman faked his own death:

Rumours about Kaufman's fate resurfaced on Monday after his brother Michael gave a bizarre speech during the annual Andy Kaufman Awards in New York City.

Michael told the audience that he believes the funnyman faked his own death, and alleged that he discovered an essay written by Andy which included details on how he planned to pull it off.

He also claimed the letter instructed him to go to a specific restaurant on Christmas Eve, 1999, upon which an anonymous man handed him another missive, which he read aloud to the New York City crowd.

Andy allegedly wrote "everything was great in his life and he just wanted to get away from being Andy Kaufman," adding that he had fallen in love with a woman and the couple were raising a daughter together.

At that point, Michael shocked the audience by bringing a young woman onto stage and introduced her as the 24-year-old daughter Andy spoke of in the letter.

In video footage taken at Monday's event, obtained by TMZ, the unnamed woman backed Michael's story and claimed Andy has been living in secret as a stay-at-home dad.

She also claimed that Andy originally agreed to come out of hiding after 29 years to attend the awards, but backed out at the last minute.

The Hollywood Reporter has since contacted Michael, who claimed the mystery woman was impossible to reach for further questions.

If Kaufman was still alive today, he would be 64 years old.

Faking a story about Kaufman faking his own death would be in keeping with the Andy Kaufman legend, so I wouldn't get too excited about this. It may be an attempt by the estate to goose sales of Kaufman videos and other Kaufman paraphernalia. Or it may just be Michael's way of remembering his brother.

Anyway, another bizarre chapter in the story of one of the strangest stars in Hollywood history.

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