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Andy Kaufman Fans Believe He's Still Alive After Photos Turn Up Showing Mystery Man in New Mexico 27 Years After His Sudden 'Death'
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In a tale no different from the likes of Elvis Presley sightings or Bigfoot, late comedy entertainer Andy Kaufman is said to be alive and living well in New Mexico.
Kaufman, whose abrupt cancer death in May of 1984 left fans, friends and foes alike wondering if it were all an act even at his funeral, would be 64-years old if alive today.
For some, mysterious photos taken of a grey-haired man in Albuquerque suggest he is.
'I do find it fascinating and I think there's a very strong possibility that this could be real,' said Albuquerque writer, Jack Bristow, speaking to KRQE.
'He told people he was going to fake his death before it happened, years before,' Bristow argued.
For some, in recent years rumors of his faked death were especially aided by the website, AndyKaufmanLives.com.
The conspiracy website presently plays a 'final video clip' said to contain actual footage of Kaufman as a much larger and aged man with a similar hairstyle to the one he had before.
It comes from a man who claims to be a relative of Kaufman, the Huffington Post reports, with the website registered to a Stephen Maddox of Greenwood, Indiana.
But Bristow thinks Maddox may be more than just a relative to Kaufman after allegedly speaking with him directly by email more than once.
He says the man he’s never seen once even sent him free airline tickets and accommodations to attend a special Kaufman memorial in Los Angeles in 2004 after hearing of his inability to fund his way there himself.
The event titled, Andy Kaufman: Dead or Alive, marked the 20th anniversary of Kaufman’s death, a time period he told friends he’d come back at if he ever faked his own death.
'...Maddox has never asked anybody for money, as far as I know. Instead, he spends money generously on Andy Kaufman fans. And Andy was famously generous with his fans,' Bristow told the Post of that unexpected gift.
There are also others who have fueled suspicion of Kaufman’s possible plans.
Approximately three years before his death, in 1981, Kaufman met with professional hoaxer, Alan Abel, who himself successfully faked his own death.
Abel’s stunt was so believable it earned him an obituary in the coveted New York Times.
'I got eight inches of space, which is two more than the guy who invented the six-pack got. Only he actually died that day,' the 82-year-old recently boasted to the Huffington Post.
Kaufman met with Abel in a New York City hotel lobby and discussed the ins and outs of his gag, according to fellow hoaxer and Kaufman fan Bob Pagani who was there.
- Kaufman friend and fellow hoaxer
Pagani recalled to the Post of how Kaufman was 'extremely interested' in how Abel pulled off his stunt while asking for the very last drop of detail.
Still, Pagani personally doesn't believe Kaufman's alive.
'I know people at the wake in Long Island literally leaned over the casket and said, "Andy, if you're faking, please stop,"' he said. 'I wish he had been faking, but I just don't think it's possible.'
In 1999 talk of Kaufman being alive resurfaced with the release of Jim Carrey's portrayal of Kaufman in the movie, Man On the Moon.
Efforts to quiet such chatter publicly produced Kaufman's official death certificate on file with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.
The Smoking Gun, who obtained and released the document at the time, deemed suspicions of his death to be 'the first use of renal failure as a marketing tool' by Hollywood filmmakers for Carrey's movie.
In an interview in January with Kaufman's brother, Michael Kaufman, he admitted that he didn't always know when his brother was acting even in some of his most bizarre skits.
He asked his brother not to tell him.
'One time I told him not to let me know what was really going on, because when people asked me questions I didn't want to lie to them,' he told VICE Magazine.