A new book claims that comedian and actor Andy Kaufman was bisexual and may still be alive. Kaufman reportedly died of cancer at the age of 35 in 1984, but Andy Kaufman: The Truth, Finally, to be published Tuesday, has a few alternate endings for Kaufman’s life, reports the New York Post.
In the book, written by Kaufman’s girlfriend Lynne Margulies and the comedian’s writing partner Bob Zmuda, two theories are prominent — one that Kaufman faked his death and is planning a comeback, the other that he died of AIDS complications. Margulies says Kaufman was bisexual.
Zmuda says Kaufman told him about the plan to fake his death in 1982. The elaborate scheme involved using a body double of a cancer patient who was actually dying and keeping all of his loved ones out of the loop. Kaufman was to live a new life for a prolonged period until he would make his triumphant return.
“If I was going to be a little boy about it, I’d go into hiding for one or two years. But if I was going to be a man about it, it’d be 20 or 30 years,” Zmuda quotes Kaufman as saying. “Bob, it’s who I am and what I do. Nothing could ever top it. I’ve given it great thought. Besides, I’m getting psyched. I’m starting an entire new life.”
Zmuda, being in on the alleged hoax, says he had a hard time from keeping from “exploding from laughter” at the funeral. He calls for Kauman to come out of hiding as his stunt has already passed the 30-year-mark.
Although it sounds far-fetched, such a scheme would not be out of character for the quirky comedian. While best known for portraying the sweet and naive mechanic Latka on the sitcom Taxi, he also would make rather bizarre appearances as a stand-up comedian — he might ask to wrestle a woman or take the audience out for milk and cookies — or show up on sets as his alter ego, lounge singer Tony Clifton, insisting that Clifton was a real person.
Margulies, on the other hand, says Kaufman died of AIDS complications. She says he asked her to keep his bisexuality a secret until his parents died; his mother died in the 1980s, his father last year.
“Years after Andy ‘died,’” writes Margulies, “a gay friend in San Francisco said that everyone knew Andy died of AIDS because they saw him in the Castro District constantly.”