The late comedian Andy Kaufman (1949-1984) is one of these legendary figures that certainly left a strong footprint in entertainment, not precisely because of his talents, but rather because of his premature death at 35. So, it can be said, that in that sense he belongs to the same privileged group of early celebrity departures, which includes Jim Morrison, Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, John Belushi etc., etc.--- and maybe the recently deceased Amy Winehouse. These artists will haunt us for eternity and have created a cult following. "The Death of Andy Kaufman" takes a comprehensive and intriguing look at the myth created by his mysterious demise.
Directed by Christopher Maloney, who is fascinated by Kaufman, the documentary opens at Beth David cemetery, where the star is buried, and we get to see his grave. From there, we watch some of his early stand-up routines, and we are told that Kaufman was an early admirer of transcendental meditation. We are also told that once the comedian was informed that he had only about three months to live due to a lung cancer, nobody wanted to believe him. They thought it was a hoax, because he apparently told many people that he was going to fake his own death. Well, the man died, and, indeed, rumors began spreading that Kaufman faked his own dead. Some people were pushing the thesis that he was replaced by a Nathan McCoy, who died in the same hospital in which Andy was interned. Director Maloney interviews some people close to Kaufman, in order that he could find the truth. Perhaps the most credible interviewee was Andy's brother, who gave a candid testimony. In the end, you'll be the judge.
"The Death of Andy Kaufman" also features some of the actor's most memorable gigs, including the famous Latka Gravas, from the TV series "Taxi," and his recurrent roles on Saturday Night Live, such as the annoying Tony Clifton. Of course, his wrestling women phase is also mentioned. This documentary, plus the film "Man on the Moon," in which Jim Carrey portrays the late comic, may go hand in hand to understand the mind of Andy Kaufman. The DVD also includes an extended interview with the director, and a trailer. (USA, 2011, color, 120 min plus additional materials). Exclusively reviewed on August 23, 2011 by Eric Gonzalez. MVD Visual / Wild Eye