Andy Kaufman

Andy Kaufman


1/17/1949, New York, NY USA



Birth Name

Andrew Geoffrey Kaufman



Also Known As

Tony Clifton, Baji Kimran
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User Rating
32 votes


Andy Kaufman was born in 1949 in New York City, and lived in Great Neck, Long Island for much of his childhood. Andy had dreamed of being a performer since he was a child, and performed at birthday parties and other small venues for many years starting when…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Andy Kaufman is also a composer.

    • Andy Kaufman practiced transcendental meditation.

    • Andy Kaufman's first movie was God Told Me To where he played a murderous policeman.

    • Andy Kaufman made four appearance's on The Tonight Show.

    • Andy Kaufman made 11 appearances on Late Night with David Letterman.

    • Andy Kaufman made 15 appearance's on Saturday Night Live.

    • During his inter-gender wrestling matches Andy Kaufman offered $1000 to whomever could beat him.

    • He got his own special on ABC called Andy's Funhouse. It was filmed in 1977 but didn't air until 1979. Andy considered Andy's Funhouse to be his greatest success.

    • At many of his performances the audience would demand him to do the character "Latka" from Taxi, so when this happened he would punish them by reading The Great Gatsby.

    • Andy Kaufman always hated the idea of being on a sitcom and he wanted to quit Taxi on many occasions.

    • He never thought of himself as a comedian.

    • Andy stated before he died that if his death was a stunt that he would come back in 20 years, so in 2003 many people came together and threw a welcome back Andy party.

    • In a recent poll Andy Kaufman was chosen as "the celebrity who most likely faked his own death". He beat out other favorites such as Elvis Presley, Jim Morrison, James Dean, and Jimi Hendrix.

    • In 1981, on an appearance on the TV show Fridays, Andy Kaufman refused to say his lines in a sketch. As a result he and Michael Richards got into a ugly, heated on-camera argument. However, it was later revealed that the entire thing was a set-up.

    • Due to his insistence, Andy Kaufman's alter ego "Tony Clifton" was once hired for a guest role on Taxi. However, after throwing a temper tantrum "Tony Clifton" was escorted off of the ABC studio lot by security guards.

    • Andy's Taxi character Latka Gravas was based on an comic character he created earlier in his career named "Foreign Man".

    • Andy's style of entertainment is now known as "performance art."

    • Andy was once a contestant on the Dating Game (1965).

    • According to wrestler Jerry Lawler, when they cleaned out Andy's house after his death, many uncashed checks from Mid-South Wrestling promoter Jerry Jarrett were found. These were given as payment for his stint as a wrestler, and brings many to the conclusion that he didn't wrestle for the money, but rather for the love of it.

    • Andy was diagnosed with a rare, large-cell, carcinoma lung cancer on December 11, 1983.

    • Andy's granddaughter, Brittany Colonna, who played Andy's younger sister as a child in the biopic Man On the Moon (1999).

    • Despite having his neck broken by Jerry Lawler's Piledriver, Andy still won the wrestling match they had (the Piledriver was illegal where they were wrestling, so Lawler had gotten disqualified, giving Kaufman the win).

    • Andy shared the same birthday with Jim Carrey, who plays him in the film Man on the Moon (1999).

    • Andy lip-synched the Mighty Mouse theme on the first episode of Saturday Night Live (1975).

    • Andy and Jerry Lawler's famous feud, including their infamous Late Night with David Letterman (1982) appearence, was all later confirmed as a setup and not real as many believed.

    • Many people doubted Andy's death, thinking it was just another gag.

    • When trying to bring his wrestling women act into the world of mainstream pro wrestling, Andy wanted to wrestle at Madison Square Garden for the World Wrestling Federation, but Kaufman's good friend Bill Apter, a head editor for several wrestling magazines, told him that Vince McMahon, Sr. would never go for such a thing, so they tried to talk to Apter's friend Jerry Lawler, which led to Andy's infamous feud with Lawler from 1982-83.

    • Along with his writing partner Bob Zmuda, Andy wrote The Tony Clifton Story, a full length feature film about the adventures of his alter ego Tony Clifton, however after his movie Heartbeeps (1981) tanked at the box office, it was scrapped by the movie studios.

    • Although he died of lung cancer, Andy was very healthy. Andy had never smoked, did not drink regularly, and was a vegetarian.

    • The Museum of TV and Radio presented 90-minute film of Kaufman highlights to honor Andy posthumously in New York and L.A. in October, 1999.

    • Andy was renowned for bizarre stunts that were part of his stage performances, such as the time he took his entire Carnegie Hall audience out for milk and cookies, via 35 waiting buses.

    • Andy was interred at Beth David Cemetery, Elmont (Long Island), New York, USA.

    • According to Jim Carrey as stated in Comedy Salute to Andy Kaufman, Andy created and originally played the "Tony Clifton" character. The secret kept for 15 years (according to Carrey) was that he did so only briefly and the character was soon passed off to Bob Zmuda (Kaufman's writer) Most of the TV appearances of Tony Clifton are actually Zumda, not Kaufman.

    • Although many people believe so, and while he did do impersonations of him, Andy and Tony Clifton are not the same person.

    • R.E.M. wrote a song about Andy called Man on the Moon for their 1992 album, Automatic for the People.

    • Of all Elvis impersonators, Andy was the REAL Elvis' favourite.

    • Andy's daughter Maria was put up for adoption, but later reunited with his family, after tracing her biological parents in 1992.

    • Andy's daughter, Maria Colonna, was born when Andy was 20, and his girlfriend was 17.

    • Saturday Night Live (1975) viewers voted Andy off the show forever in a call-in poll in 1982.

    • Andy attended Boston's Grahm Junior College.

    • Andy graduated from Great Neck North High School in 1967.

    • Taxi (1978) co-star Jeff Conaway decked Andy after the 1979 Golden Globes, when he insulted his co-stars.

    • Andy was 6' (1.83 m) tall.

  • Quotes

    • Andy Kaufman: When you go through a tunnel - you're going on a train - you go through a tunnel, the tunnel is dark, but you're still going forward. Just remember that. But if you're not going to get up on stage for one night because you're discouraged or something, then the train is going to stop. Everytime you get up on stage, if it's a long tunnel, it's going to take a lot of times of going on stage before things get bright again. You keep going on stage, you go forward. Every night you go on stage...

    • Andy Kaufman: I try to please people, to give them a good time, but I refuse to make my act conform to traditional show-biz standards of entertainment. There's a little voice that says, "Oh, no, you can't do that, that's breaking all the rules." That's the voice of show business. Then this other little voice says, "Try it". And most of the time, when the voice comes on and says, "No", that's the time it works.

    • Andy Kaufman: When I was 7, I believed Howdy Doody was in a little world inside that glowing box. I was hypnotized and I wanted to go away, to be with him in there. When I was 8, I started doing party magic shows for kids - grown-ups had to leave. Then later, at college in Boston, I worked up my own kid's show, "Uncle Andy's Fun House".

    • Andy Kaufman: There's no drama like wrestling.

    • Andy Kaufman: My mother sent me to psychiatrists since the age of four because she didn't think little boys should be sad. When my brother was born, I stared out the window for days. Can you imagine that?

    • Andy Kaufman: What's real? What's not? That's what I do in my act, test how other people deal with reality.

    • Andy Kaufman: While all the other kids were out playing ball and stuff, I used to stay in my room and imagine that there was a camera in the wall. And I used to really believe that I was putting on a television show and that it was going out to somewhere in the world.

    • Andy Kaufman: The critics try to intellectualize my materiel. There's no satire involved. Satire is a concept that can only be understood by adults. My stuff is straight, for people of all ages.

    • Andy Kaufman: Pure entertainment is not an egotistical lady singing boring songs onstage for two hours and people in tuxes clapping whether they like it or not. It's the real performers on the street who can hold people's attention and keep them from walking away.

    • Andy Kaufman: If I play my cards right, I could bring network wrestling back to TV. Unfortunately, to most people, wrestling is a laughingstock. But fortunately, I'm reaching people who otherwise wouldn't watch it.

    • Andy Kaufman: I just want real reactions. I want people to laugh from the gut, be sad from the gut, or get angry from the gut.