Andy Kaufman's Brother: I'm the Hoax Victim (and He's Probably Dead)

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Andy Kaufman's brother Michael now says he is the victim of a hoax - not the perpetrator - that led people, including himself, to believe the comedian is still alive.

The Internet erupted with buzz after Michael sparked the rumors that he'd seen Andy Kaufman alive ... or at least seen proof in the form of his brother's daughter.

But almost as quickly as reports surfaced Thursday, the news seemed to fizzle, with Michael Kaufman CNN that he believes he is the victim of a hoax.

"Now that it's Thursday, not Monday ... I believe I am part of a hoax," Kaufman said, adding of the alleged daughter, who may be actress Alexandra Tatarsky.

"I don't believe she's acting on her own, though."

CNN's Jake Tapper pressed him: "Just to reiterate, you now don't think that it's true ... you think that this is a hoax and you were a victim of the hoax?"

"Correct," Kaufman said, denying he's part of the hoax.

The Smoking Gun reported the woman is actually Tatarsky, a 24-year-old New York City theater actress whose father is a 58-year-old psychologist.

The website reported that Michael Kaufman met her earlier this year at a Manhattan gallery and recruited her to pose as his brother's daughter.

"That is not true," Michael Kaufman told CNN of his alleged role in it.

Michael Kaufman introduced the woman he claimed was Andy's daughter Monday at the Andy Kaufman Awards, an annual event held in his honor.

Asked if he's angry, he said, "I'm still processing it. As Andy's brother, you learn over the years, you know, to go with the flow, kind of. So I have mixed emotions."

"I never allowed myself to get too excited, but I was always slightly skeptical."

Andy Kaufman often talked about faking his death and joked about his return. Fans and even some of his closest friends never quite believed he died.

As reports spread Thursday, the L.A. County Coroner took the unusual step of re-releasing his death certificate. "Andy Kaufman is dead," the coroner's office said.

Kaufman's manager, George Shapiro, was at the comedian's side at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on the day he died, May 16, 1984.

"Andy's very much alive in our hearts, but I don't think his body is around," Shapiro told CNN Thursday in response to the story taking over the web.

"He died. I was in the hospital."

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