35 (passed away May. 16th, 1984)
Jan. 17th, 1949
New York City, New York, USA
Andy Kaufman's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Referred to by some as a dadaistic comedian, Andy Kaufman took comedy and performance art to the edges of irrationality and blurred the dividing line between reality and imagination. Born in New York City on January 17, 1949, the first son of Stanley and Janice Kaufman, Andy grew up on New York in the town of Great Neck. He began performing for family and friends at the age of 7, and by the time he was 9 was being hired to entertain at children's parties. After a year at a Boston junior college, Andy began performing his unique brand of stand-up comedy at coffee shops and nightclubs on the east coast. Discovered by Improvisation comedy club owner Bud Friedman, Andy quickly earned a reputation as a talented, yet eccentric performer. Impressed by his abilities, Lorne Michaels asked Kaufman to appear on the inaugural broadcast of Saturday Night Live (October 11, 1975). Best known for his work as Latka Gravas on the TV sitcom Taxi, Andy appeared in several TV shows and movies, on Broadway, did a one man show at Carnegie Hall, enjoyed a brief professional wrestling career and performed in concerts nation-wide.
- Son of 'Stanley Kaufman (II)' (qv).
- Lip-synched the "Mighty Mouse" theme on the first episode of _"Saturday Night Live" (1975)_ (qv).
- One of his most famous performances was on the 1975 summer replacement show _"Van Dyke and Company" (1976)_ (qv), hosted by 'Dick Van Dyke' (qv). As his "Foreign Man", he did two very poor celebrity impressions, and then broke into a dead solid perfect impression of 'Elvis Presley' (qv). After the audience gave him thunderous applause, he replied, in his "Foreign Man" voice, "Thenk yew veddy much!" The audience went into hysterics.
- Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 441-442. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.
- Often read from the the book "The Great Gatsby" at performances. But, unlike the movie, never made it further than the second page of the first chapter.
- His style of entertainment is now known as "performance art."
- Despite their publicized, but fake, feud, Kaufman was actually a great admirer of 'Jerry Lawler' (qv).
- Diagnosed with a rare, large-cell, carcinoma lung cancer on December 11, 1983.