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The eyes of a genius


A Brief History of Significant Events in the Public Life of Andy Kaufman


  • January 17, 1949 - Born in New York City, the first son of Stanley and Janice Kaufman. Andrew Geoffrey Kaufman is raised in the affluent Long Island suburb of Great Neck and gravitates towards show business at an early age. Before he is even a year old, Andy reaches from his crib to work the controls of a nearby phonograph. "He'd stand up in his crib and keep it on all the time, just putting the needle back," Janice remembers, "whenever it was on, he was content."

  • 1953 - In his room at their home at 5 Robin Way, Andy begins his daily "TV" broadcasts from "Channel 5."

  • 1954 - Attends Saddle Rock Elementary.

  • 1956 - In the living room of their red-brick split-level home at 21 Grassfield Road, Andy begins performing jokes and magic tricks for family and friends. The roots of Andy's conceptual comedy begin at this early age. "He was very difficult in that he would never accept things at face value, " his father, Stanley recalls. "I had some tremendous arguments with him. In trying to prove a point on a given subject where I wasn't making any headway, I would end up saying, 'Well, my God! Isn't one and one two?' And he'd look me in the eye and say, 'Not necessarily.'"

  • 1956 - Transfers to Baker Hill Elementary.

    Young Andy

  • 1957 - At the age of 8, Andy begins working as an entertainer at children's parties. Andy works these shows for free, but by age fourteen begins to be paid for these performances.

  • Spring - 1959 - At a school assembly Andy sees a performance by the West African percussionist Olatunji. This inspires Andy to learn to play the congas.

  • 1960 - Andy's lifelong fascination with Elvis Presley begins.

  • 1962 - Andy and Grandma Pearl see "Turko the Half Man" at Hubert's Museum, a storefront freak show on Times Square.

  • Fall - 1962 - Andy attends Great Neck North Junior High School.

  • 1963 - Andy takes the "Otis Gamma" intelligence test and scores an IQ of 114.

  • 1963 - Writes a short story titled, "Treak or Trick for UNICEF."

    Teenager Andy

  • May 17, 1963 - Stanley, Andy and his brother Michael attend a wrestling match at Madison Square Garden. That night, "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers loses his World Championship to Bruno Sammartino. Awestruck by what he had just witnessed, Andy begins to dream of a career in professional wrestling.

  • October 17, 1963 - Writes "A Chosen Few - A Love Poem."

  • October 17, 1963 - Also writes "Eidandrofields."

  • October 21, 1963 - Completes a short poem, "The Lark."

  • October 23, 1963 - Writes a poem, "Saint or Sinner."

  • October 24, 1963 - Writes a poem, "Hi."

  • October 26, 1963 - Writes a poem, "He gets illusions that his fly is always open."

  • October 27, 1963 - Writes a poem, "What will happen if."

  • October 29, 1963 - Writes a poem, "The Faggot."

  • November 1, 1963 - Writes a poem, "A modern Twilight Zone."

  • November 4, 1963 - Writes a short poem, "Escape."

  • November 10, 1963 - Writes a poem, "How Wonderful."

  • November 13, 1963 - Writes a poem, "The Sorrow and Gladness" or "Drip" or "Drip-Drip-Drip" or "The prompting of my heart."

  • November 16, 1963 - Writes a poem, "Relax."

  • November 18, 1963 - Completes a play, "The Shameless Bohemian."

  • November 26, 1963 - Writes a poem, "Nineteen question marks."

  • December 8, 1963 - Writes a poem, "Oh people, funny people."

  • December 10, 1963 - Writes a poem, "The Messiah."

  • December 16, 1963 - Writes a poem, "Tis Amusing."

  • December 16, 1963 - Also writes the poem, "The extreme success."(Featured at the end of the authorized Andy Kaufman biography, Lost in the Funhouse by Bill Zehme.)

  • December 26, 1963 - Writes three short poems, "Scared of the dark" "The cage" and "Leaning back in a cafe."

  • 1964 - Writes a story titled, "Assassination."

  • 1964 - Writes a short story titled, "The House on Cow Lane."

  • 1964 - During 9th grade gym class, Andy impresses his classmates by being the only one to successfully do 35 chin-ups.

  • 1964 - Attends Great Neck North High School.

  • 1964 - Writes a play titled, "Captain Bikini."

  • January 3, 1964 - Writes a short poem, "Lonely."

  • January 5, 1964 - Completes "Bohemia-West" a musical play (comedy?).

  • January 15, 1964 - Writes a poem, "Trapping."

  • January 19, 1964 - Writes a poem, "The sad cafe."

  • January 25, 1964 - Writes two short poems, "Give up" and "Experiment at a train station."

  • January 29, 1964 - Completes "The Mirror" a monologue play.

  • March 25, 1964 - Writes a short poem, "They laughed."

  • March 31, 1964 - Writes a poem, "The intellect."

  • April 1, 1964 - Writes a poem, "April 1, 1964. "

  • April 3, 1964 - Writes a poem, "April 3, 1964."

  • April 4, 1964 - Writes a poem, "April 4, 1964."

  • April 7, 1964 - Writes a poem, "April 7, 1964."

  • April 12, 1964 - Writes a poem, "April 12, 1964."

  • April 15, 1964 - Writes a poem, "Based upon my dream last night."

  • April 26, 1964 - Writes a poem, "April 26, 1964."

  • April 28, 1964 - Writes a poem, "April 28, 1964."

  • May 4, 1964 - Writes a poem, "May 4, 1964."

  • May 7, 1964 - Writes a VERY short poem, "Untitled."

  • May 16, 1964 - Writes a poem, "May 16, 1964."

  • May 26, 1964 - Writes a poem, "May 26, 1964."

  • June 1, 1964 - Writes a poem, "April 3, 1964."

  • July 3, 1964 - Writes two poems, "I witnessed ---- death." and "He waits by the roller coaster."

  • September 29, 1964 - Writes a poem, "Old women."

  • October 1964 - Writes a poem, "Ear - Plugs."

  • October 1, 1964 - Writes two poems, "A single pebble" and "Let's get him or gulp."

  • October 5, 1964 - Writes a poem, "Built a fence built."

  • October 6, 1964 - Writes a poem, "Knock-knock."

  • October 26, 1964 - Writes an unfinished poem, "Dear Lord."

  • November 4-5, 1964 - Writes the epic poem, "Anatomy of a phone call."

  • November 10, 1964 - Writes a poem, "Untitled."

  • 1965 - At age 16 Andy completes his first novel (still unpublished) titled, "The Hollering Mangoo." Andy becomes a rebellious beatnik and hangs out in Greenwich Village as much as possible.

  • 1965 - Writes a short story, "Untitled."

  • January 19, 1965 - Writes a poem, "Untitled."

  • January 21, 1965 - Writes a poem, "Untitled."

  • March 23, 1965 - Writes a poem, "Thanks to the people who raised me right."

  • March 26, 1965 - Writes a poem, "Untitled."

  • April 6. 1965 - Writes a story titled, "THE POWER."

  • May 6, 1965 - Writes a story titled, "Bambi."

  • May 14, 1965 - Writes a story titled, "On The Road Again." (This story was published in the Great Neck GuidePost, the Great Neck North High School student newspaper.)

  • May 19, 1965 - Writes, "Dear Aunt Matilda."

  • May 24, 1965 - Writes a poem, "Untitled."

  • May 26, 1965 - Writes a story titled, "The Fight."

  • June 24, 1965 - Writes a poem, "Hamburger."

  • July 6, 1965 - Writes a story titled, "The Roller Coaster."

  • July 28, 1965 - Writes a story titled, "The Hill."

  • March 11, 1966 - Writes a story, "Untitled."

  • April 1, 1966 - Writes a poem, "Untitled."

  • May 6, 1966 - Writes a story, "Untitled."

  • May 8, 1966 - Writes a story, "Untitled."

  • May 12, 1966 - Writes a story, "Untitled."

  • May 27, 1966 - Writes a short story titled, "Final Assembly."

  • July 15, 1966 - Writes a story, "Untitled."

  • July 20, 1966 - Writes a story titled, "King of The World."

  • August 18, 1966 - Writes a story titled, "Reveille."

  • September 7 - November 3, 1966 - Writes a story titled, "Down in the Valley."

  • September 30, 1966 - Writes a story titled, "THE NIGHT BEFORE."

  • October 13, 1966 - Writes a story, "Untitled."

  • October 17, 1966 - Writes a story, "Untitled."

  • October 31, 1966 - Writes a story titled, "THE LITTLE KID."

  • 1967 - Writes a story titled, "The Rocking Chair."

  • 1967 - Writes "A Review of 'Yellow Submarine' With a Twist of Lemon."

  • June 22, 1967 - Writes a story, "Untitled."

    Andrew G. Kaufman  Class of 1967

  • June 23, 1967 - With a C- average (70.6%), Andy graduates from Great Neck North High School, 419th in a class of 461 . Like Andy, fellow classmate Jon Avnet also chooses a show business career path. Avnet goes on to produce/direct such notable films as Risky Business and Fried Green Tomatoes. He continues to direct major motion pictures to this day. Another classmate, Louis Rossetto, Jr., is the creator of, Wired magazine.

  • July 30, 1967 - Begins to writes a story titled, "The Lost Thumb." (Completed March 3, 1968.)

  • Summer - 1967 - By scoring zero on the psychology test, Andy receives a 4-F deferment from the draft which prevents him from going to Viet Nam.

  • December 28, 1967 - Writes a short story titled, "Flamboyant Merchant."

  • 1967-1968 - Andy hangs out at the local park in town with various friends and persons of ill repute. He begins to drink heavily, use drugs and generally waste his life away. Buoyed by occasional odd jobs (he delivers meat for a butcher shop, drives cabs and trucks, and washes dishes), Andy is going nowhere fast, but knows in his heart of hearts that the future holds great things for him.

  • August 1968 - Enrolls at Boston's Grahm Junior College to study television and radio production.

  • September 27, 1968 - Writes a story titled, "The Baseball Game."

  • November 20, 1968 - Andy uses non-prescription drugs for the last time.

  • December 5, 1968 - Andy takes his first Transcendental Meditation (TM) course. Mastering TM eases him into performing in front of large audiences. TM becomes an important routine in Andy's life and he begins a ritual of meditating two times-a-day. "I knew I had the potential to entertain, but I was too shy. TM really brought the shyness out of me."

  • 1969 - Andy hitchhikes to Las Vegas to meet Elvis Presley. Hiding inside a walk-in cupboard in the kitchen of the Las Vegas Hilton, Andy surprises Elvis and tries to show "The King" a novel Andy had penned in loving tribute to his idol. Elvis pats Andy on the shoulder and gives him his blessing.

  • 1969 - Andy claims to have seen a performance by "Las Vegas Lounge Legend" Tony Clifton and becomes a fan for life, even going so far as to imitate Clifton during his own stand-up performances. As Andy becomes more successful, he "hires" Clifton as his opening act.

    Listen to audio clips of Tony Clifton at Uncle Andy's Audio Funhouse.

  • 1969 - Completes his second book, a one-man play titled, " God." Andy later changes the title to "Gosh."

  • February 27, 1969 - Andy pens a letter to his idol, Elvis Presley.

  • September 14, 1969 - Andy performs "God" at "Al's Place" a campus coffeehouse run by his friend, Al Parinello.

  • 1970 - Hosts "Uncle Andy's Fun House" on the Grahm Junior College closed-circuit television station (WCSB-TV). Gives local children milk and cookies if they'll be his audience for the show. Begins to perform at local coffee houses and is hired as a comedian by an African-American student's group for their show, "The Soul Time Review."

  • July 1970 - Meets the Maharishi at a TM course retreat in Poland Springs, Maine.

  • February 1971-June 1971 - Andy travels to Marjoca, Spain to attend a TM teaching course. While in Spain, Andy finds time to travel all over Europe.

  • November 15, 1970 - Writes a short story titled, "H."

  • May 29, 1971 - Andy graduates from Grahm Junior College (founded in 1950 as Cambridge School) with an Associates Degree in Applied Science.

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    Photo courtesy of Wayne Williams

  • 1972 - "Discovered" by Improvisation Comedy Club owner Budd Friedman while performing stand-up comedy at My Father's Place (a Long Island rock club), Andy begins doing his stand-up act at Friedman's Improv's in New York and Los Angeles. Kaufman always insisted he wasn't a comedian and many audiences wouldn't argue. Eschewing traditional stand-up routines, Andy challenges and confuses audiences with varying presentations consisting of an inept foreign comedian, a low-life Las Vegas crooner, taunting women into wrestling matches, singing the entire "One Hundred Bottles of Beer" song, impersonating Elvis, reading The Great Gatsby aloud, or appearing on stage in a sleeping bag and sleeping throughout the entire show.

  • 1972 - Hires Jim Walsh as manager.

  • 1972 - Performs at Pips Comedy Club.

  • February 1972 - Opens for The Temptations at a concert in Northampton, Massachusetts.

  • April 12, 1972 - Writes two short stories, "Genesis" and "The Entertainer." (Completed May 30, 1972.)

  • June 1972 - Guest on Chicago's "Kennedy at Night" - first television appearance as Elvis.

  • June 28, 1972 - Writes a short story, "Untitled."

  • February 8, 1973 - Andy auditions for a spot at Catch a Rising Star. Is asked to return and performs on February 9th, 10th and 13th.

  • February 12, 1973 - First performance at Budd Friedman's (NYC) Improvisation.

  • February 14, 1973 - Auditions for a spot at Dangerfield's.

  • December 1973 through January 1974 - Attends advanced TM training and residence (ATR Course) at Interlocken, Switzerland and Vittel, France.

  • 1973 - While performing at the NYC Improvisation, Bob Zmuda meets Andy. Zmuda and Chris Albrecht perform as, "Albrecht and Zmuda - Comedy from A to Z." Andy and Bob begin a lifelong friendship and business association. Chris Albrecht is the former President of Original Programming for HBO.

  • February 4, 1974 - Andy performs two shows at local elementary schools. At Grace Avenue School (11 A.M.), and at his alma mater, Baker Hill Elementary at 2 P.M.

  • February 6, 1974 - Referees a hamburger eating contest at Burger King on 47 East 59th Street.

  • March 19, 1974 - Writes a short story, "Untitled."

  • March 27-31, 1974 - Performs at My Father's Place.

  • April 1, 1974 - Attends a professional wrestling show at Madison Square Garden.

  • April 5, 1974 - Performs at the Improv.

  • April 16, 1974 - Performs at the Bitter End.

  • April 26, 1974 - Performs at the Improv.

  • April 27, 1974 - Performs at the Playboy Club in Great Gorge, New Jersey.

  • April 29, 1974 - Attends a professional wrestling show at Madison Square Garden.

  • May 7, 1974 - Andy travels to California.

  • June 6, 1974 - Andy makes his national television debut on Dean Martin's Comedyworld.

  • June 6-16, 1974 - Performs at the Hippodrome.

  • June 18-23, 1974 - Performs at the Hippodrome.

  • June 20, 1974 - First appearance on The Joe Franklin Show.

  • July 1-7, 1974 - Performs at Max's Kansas City with Mark "Moogie" Klingman's band.

  • July 8-14, 1974 - Performs at the Hippodrome.

  • July 22, 1974 - Attends a professional wrestling match at Madison Square Garden.

  • August 21, 1974 - Writes a short story, "The Tragedy of SANTO."

  • August 22, 1974 - Writes a short story, "August 22, 1974."

  • August 26, 1974 - Attends a professional wrestling match at Madison Square Garden.

  • Various nights, July through August, 1974 - Performs at the Hippodrome.

  • Fall, 1974 - Andy and manager, Jim Walsh amicably part ways.

  • October 7, 1974 - Attends a professional wrestling match at Madison Square Garden.

  • October 9, 1974 - Sees Richard Pryor in concert.

  • October 11-12, 1974 - Performs two nights at Pips.

  • October 21-27, 1974 - Performs at the Bijou in Philadelphia.

  • October 22, 1974 - Writes a short story titled, "Ovation #1."

  • November 1, 1974 - Performs at Bachelor's 3 in NYC.

  • November 5, 1974 - Performs at the Dutch Treat Club in the Regency Park Hotel.

  • November 7-11, 1974 - While on vacation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Andy performs at Bachelor's 3.

  • November 18, 1974 - Attends a professional wrestling match at Madison Square Garden.

  • December 4, 1974 - Performs one show at The Monestary (40th & Queens Blvd).

  • December 10, 1974 - Andy writes the short story, "The First Date."

  • December 12-13, 1974 - Performs at Pips.

  • December 16, 1974 - Attends a professional wrestling match at Madison Square Garden.

  • 1975 - NBC executive Dick Ebersol sees Andy's act and asks him to audition for a new late-night comedy show tentatively named, "Saturday Night."

    Listen to audio clips of Andy's audition at Uncle Andy's Audio Funhouse.

  • April 20, 1975 - Writes a short story titled, "The Last of the Custellas."

  • October 7, 1975 - Writes a short story, "Untitled."

  • October 11, 1975 - On the inaugural broadcast of Saturday Night Live Andy lip-synch's "The Theme from Mighty Mouse." Dates of other SNL appearances:
    • October 25, 1975 ("Pop Goes the Weasel")
    • November 8, 1975 (Foreign Man)
    • February 28, 1976 (Old MacDonald)
    • January 15, 1977 (Does Elvis)
    • October 15, 1977 (Sings, "Oklahoma")
    • December 10, 1977 ("Foreign Man")
    • March 11, 1978 (Reads "The Great Gatsby")
    • February 24, 1979 (Plays bongos and yodels)
    • October 20, 1979 (Andy's first wrestling match on SNL)
    • December 22, 1979 (With manager Buddy Rogers, wrestles more women)
    • January 30, 1982 (As Elvis backstage with "Red")
    • May 15, 1982 (Discusses videotape of Lawler wrestling match)
    • November 20, 1982 (Andy is voted off the show 195,544 to 169,186)
    • January 22, 1983 (Videotape of Andy thanking viewers who voted for him in vain)

    Andy Kaufman

  • 1976 - Andy's "uncle," Sam Denoff (writer and co-creator of That Girl starring Marlo Thomas) introduces Andy to Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke. Impressed with his talent, Reiner encourages his nephew (and manager), George Shapiro to represent Andy. Months later, Shapiro - West and Associates begin managing Andy's career.

  • January 17, 1976 - Appears on The Monty Hall Variety Hour.

  • June 23, 1976 - Makes the first of many guest appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Steve Allen is the guest host.

  • June 30, 1976 - Guest spot on The Lisa Hartman Show: Hot Stuff variety/comedy hour.

  • September 20, 1976 to December 30, 1976 - Performs as cast member on Dick Van Dyke's weekly variety show, Van Dyke and Co. Andy's "unscheduled" appearances during the middle of Van Dyke's sketches become an instant favorite. His "Foreign Man" to Elvis transformation stuns the studio and television audiences.

  • January 17, 1977 - Appears as Foreign Man on a daytime talk show hosted by Dinah Shore which is imaginatively titled, Dinah!

  • January 21, 1977 - Makes another appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

  • February - March 1977 - Andy, Mel Sherer, Merrill Markoe, Cheryl Gard and Little Wendy (Wendy Polland) perform a series of late-night shows at Budd Friedmann's Improv (L.A.). Midnight Snacks begins at 2:30 A.M. and runs for three successive Saturday nights to rave reviews. The Midnight Snack shows eventually form the basis for both of Andy's TV specials (one for ABC and the other for PBS). Former West Side Story star, Richard Beymer videotapes the shows and also appears as a guest in "The Has-Been Corner."

  • March 22-27, 1977 - Andy appears as the opening act for the Sonny and Cher concert tour.

  • March 3, 1977 - Appears again as a guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

  • May 30, 1977 - Plays the role of Andy the robot helper in a space-age comedy television pilot titled, Stick Around. (Pilot was filmed March 29, 1977)

  • June 1977 - Andy appears as "Foreign Man" for a week of shows on Hollywood Squares.

  • Spring-Summer 1977 - After many months apart, Bob Zmuda joins Andy in Los Angeles. He assists Andy and Mel Sherer in the production of The Andy Kaufman Special (aka Uncle Andy's Fun House). The special is based upon the Midnight Snacks shows created by Andy, Mel and others months earlier.

  • September 15, 1977 - Guest appearance on The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour (ABC).

  • October 24-25, & October 31 through November 1, 1977 - At the urging of Mel Sherer, Andy "hires" Tony Clifton to open for him at main Room in The Comedy Store. With Mel's assistance, Andy also begins to wrestle women during his nightclub shows. Andy's first match (at the Los Angeles Improvisation) is against Marilyn Rubin. Andy easily defeats her. The shows also include a guest appearance by Michelle Bernath's beginner Tap Dance Class.

  • 1977 - Plays a psychotic assassin cop in the made-for-television movie, God Told Me To (aka) Demon.

  • 1978 - Andy officially "hires" Tony Clifton to appear as the opening act at many of Andy's nightclub and concert performances.

  • 1978 - Begins notes and rough drafts for his third book titled, "The Huey Williams Story" the fictional biography of "the world's greatest entertainer."

  • January 3, 1978 - Guest spot on an ABC special on the history of Variety (taped January 3, 1978).

  • January 1978 - Begins the first of many cross-country college concerts. Bob Zmuda serves as road manager, writer, producer and baggage handler.

  • February 1, 1978 - Andy and Bob complete a draft script for a TV pilot titled, "Fingers and Knuckles." It never sees the light of day...

  • February 10-11, 1978 - Andy performs in concert at Colorado State University.

  • February 16, 1978 - Andy performs in concert at Eastern Washington University (Spokane).

  • February 18, 1978 - Appears in Chicago, Illinois with Sha-Na-Na.

  • February 23-26, 1978 - Andy and Tony Clifton appear at The Comedy Store. Producers and writers from the TV show Taxi are in the audience, and impressed by what they see, invite Andy to join the ensemble cast.

  • February 20, 1978 - Final appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Steve Martin is the guest host.

  • February 22-25, 1978 - Andy appears at The Comedy Store.

  • March 2, 1978 - "Comedian Andy Kaufman Comes Home to Great Neck" The Student Organization of Great Neck North Senior High School presents a night of comedy and music with hometown hero, Andy Kaufman. Andy returns to his old high school for two shows (3PM and 8PM) to kick off his national comedy tour. Tickets are $3.00 and both performances are sold out.

    Andy Kaufman Publicity
Photo

  • March 4, 1978 - Concert at the Town Hall in New York City.

  • March 14, 1978 - Appears with Bob Zmuda on Columbus, Ohio TV show, "Bananaz."

  • March 17, 1978 - Appears at Valley Forge with Sha-Na-Na.

  • April 1-3, 1978 - During a concert in Tucson, Arizona, Andy challenges women in the audience to wrestle him.

  • April 11, 1978 - Performs as a guest on The Mike Douglas Show.

  • April - June, 1978 - Andy attends a TM Age of Enlightenment Governor Training Course in San Jacinto, California.

  • July 5, 1978 - The ABC situation-comedy, Taxi begins production. Andy is a reluctant participant. He finds a commitment to a TV series too confining and hates to "lose" his "Foreign Man" character, but takes the job for the money and the national exposure.

  • August 1978 - Begins working as a part-time busboy for Posh Bagel on Santa Monica Blvd.

  • September 1978 - Andy begins his "National College Sex Concert Tour." Andy books performances at various colleges across the country based upon fan mail received from beautiful college girls. Any woman sending Andy a personal photo and fan letter would receive a personal reply card from Andy. Showing this card on the night of the concert gained the holder a backstage pass and a meeting with Andy in his dressing room.

  • September 12, 1978 - First broadcast of the ABC situation-comedy, Taxi. Andy plays the role of foreign auto mechanic Latka Gravas. Andy convinces executive producers James L. Brooks and Ed. Weinberger to sign Tony Clifton to a contract that promises at least 2 episodes of work, and Tony's own parking space. Clifton is fired before the shooting of episode #10, "A Full House for Christmas" for unprofessional behavior. (Andy supports the decision to fire Clifton.) "If they hadn't thrown me off," Clifton snorted, "I woulda' been the star!!"

  • September 13, 1978 - Andy performs in concert at Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois.

  • September 16-17, 1978 - Andy performs 2 shows at The Park West, Chicago, Illinois.

  • October 12, 1978 - Andy performs in concert at State University, Albany, New York.

  • October 14, 1978 - Andy performs in concert at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. At the conclusion of the show, Andy thanks everyone and shakes the hand of each member of the audience.

  • October 19, 1978 - Andy performs in concert at Mississippi State University.

  • November 20, 1978 - Andy performs in concert at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island.

  • November 21, 1978 - Andy appears as contestant, Baji Kimran, on The Dating Game.

  • November 29, 1978 - Andy appears on Dick Clark Live.

  • December 1-2, 1978 - Tony Clifton opens for Rodney Dangerfield at The Comedy Store, West Hollywood, California.

  • December 15-16, 1978 - Andy performs in concert at the Huntington Hartford Theatre in Hollywood. At the conclusion of the show, Andy takes everyone to The Olde Spaghetti Factory for milk and cookies. Treating audiences to milk and cookies after his shows becomes a Kaufman tradition.

  • 1979 - Andy begins his reign as World Inter-gender Wrestling Champion, challenging any woman in the audience to wrestle him for his championship belt. He also promises to pay $1,000 to any woman who can pin his shoulders to the mat. "Ladies and Gentlemen, I am here to wrestle tonight, " Andy announces. "This is not a comedy routine, this is not a skit. Okay?? This is real!! I am here to wrestle a woman!!"

  • 1979 - Appears on HBO's 2nd Annual Young Comedians Show.

  • 1979 - Nominated for a Golden Globe award as Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Musical Series by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for his work on Taxi.

  • January 27, 1979 - At the Golden Globe Awards ceremony held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, fellow Taxi castmember Jeff Conaway punches Andy in the face.

  • March 2-3, 1979 - Performs at the Playboy Club in Great Gorge, New Jersey.

  • March 9-10, 1979 - Performs at the Playboy Hotel and Resort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

  • March 21, 1979 - Andy performs in concert at York College, York, Pennsylvania. Later that night he handcuffs himself to a young college student.

  • March 25, 1979 - Andy performs in concert at the University of Miami (Ohio).

  • March 30, 1979 - Andy performs in concert at Purdue University.

  • April 3, 1979 - Guest appearance on "Cher and Other Fantasies" (NBC).

  • April 22, 1979 - In a charity benefit for the New York City Police Department, VIP Night on Broadway, Andy sings "Tomorrow" from the musical Annie with Sarah Jessica Parker and Robin Williams.

  • April 26, 1979 - Andy Kaufman Plays Carnegie Hall. After the show Andy invites the audience (2,800) to board 20 buses for a trip to the Manhattan School of Printing's cafeteria for free milk and cookies.

  • May 22 through June 11, 1979 - Principle photography begins for the Marty Feldman movie for Universal called, In God We Tru$t. Andy has a bit part in the movie.

  • August 20, 1979 - Andy is a guest on The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder. (This is Andy's first wrestling match with a woman on national television.)

  • August 28, 1979 - Stars in his own ABC comedy show, The Andy Kaufman Special - Andy's Funhouse (originally taped in July 15, 1977).

  • September 5, 1979 - Interviewed for "Oui" magazine.

  • September 19, 1979 - A drunken Tony Clifton appears as a guest on The Dinah Shore Show. The appearance is an "egg-throwing" fiasco and a subsequent court order prevents Clifton from going within 100 feet of Ms. Shore. Co-host Charles Nelson Reilly is horrified. (Editor's Note: Just kidding about the court order.)

  • October 6-11, 1979 - Tony Clifton appears at Harrah's Club Reno, Reno Nevada.

  • November 5, 1979 - Andy performs in concert at San Diego State University.

  • November 7, 1979 - Andy performs in concert at the Rainbow Theatre, Denver, Colorado.

  • November 9, 1979 - Andy performs in concert at the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado.

  • November 14, 1979 - Andy performs in concert at the University of Illinois, Chicago, Ilinois.

  • November 22, 1979 - Andy rides on a float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

  • November 27-28, 1979 - Andy appears at Kutsher's Resort in upstate New York. During the show Andy invites Stanley, Janice, Michael, Carol, Grandma Lillie and Grandma Pearl on stage to perform. Their act is not well received. Andy is very unhappy with the audience and the Kaufman's leave the next day. "You're the type of people who give Jews a bad name!!" Andy shouts as they leave.

  • December 3, 1979 - Appears at The Comedy Store.

  • December 6, 1979 - Guest appearance on A Johnny Cash Christmas (CBS).

  • December 13, 1979 - Guest appearance on The Merv Griffin Show.

  • December 17, 1979 - Appears at The Comedy Store.

  • 1980 - Stars with Marty Feldman, Richard Pryor and Peter Boyle in the Universal Pictures movie In God We Tru$t. Andy plays a televangelist named, Armageddon T. Thunderbird. ":Andy plays Amageddon T. Thunderbird." Marty Feldman (the films star and director says. "He's the most powerful media evangelist in the world, and he (Andy) prepared very carefully for it. He watched all of the L.A. TV evangelists, and then went to New York City and preached in parks and on corners. Then he went to London and soap-boxed in Hyde Park for a while, threatening doom and sharpening his character."

  • January 25, 1980 - Appears on The Merv Griffin Show.

  • March 1, 1980 - Films a short ten-minute performance of "Uncle Andy's Fun House" for a TV pilot titled, Buckshot.

  • March 10, 1980 - Appears at The Comedy Store.

  • March 17, 1980 - Appears at The Comedy Store.

  • May 11, 1980 - At "Chippendales,"Andy mudwrestles 6 girls at once and loses. This match was an exhibition and does not count against his Intergender Wrestling crown.

  • June 6,1980 - Begins filming the movie, Heartbeeps.

  • June 12, 1980 - Showtime cable network broadcasts "Andy Kaufman at Carnegie Hall."

    Andy in concert

  • August 1980 - Andy begins to save his hate mail in the hopes of someday publishing a book titled, "Andy Kaufman's Hate Mail."

  • September 25-26, 1980 - Performs at the Improv NYC.

  • 1981 - Featured on the undercard of a pro-wrestling show at Cobo Arena in Detroit, Michigan, Andy easily defends his Intergender Championship. Answering the critics who find his wrestling an insult to women, Andy explains, "Well, I'm not really a wrestler, though the last couple of years that I've been doing it in my concerts I've learned a lot about it by just doing it. I wanted to recapture the old days of the carnivals where (before television) wrestlers used to go from town to town and offer $500 to any man that could last in the ring with them for three minutes. So I figured if I could offer a prize, make it like a contest, it could get very, very exciting. And it turned out to be like one of the highlights, one of the most exciting parts of the concert. But I couldn't very well challenge men in the audience because I'd get beaten right away. I mean most men are bigger than me and stronger than me. So I figured if I challenged women there are enough women who are almost as big, or as big as me and they would have a good chance to beat me."

  • 1981 - When not shooting Taxi or performing stand-up, Andy works as a busboy at a local delicatessen, Jerry's Famous Deli in Studio City, California.

  • 1981 - At the conclusion of this season's Taxi, Andy plans a "Ninety-Nine Cent" national tour so everyone can afford to see him perform in concert.

  • January 2, 1981 - Performs at the Improv NYC.

  • January 15, 1981 - Writes a short story titled, "Golden Boy."

  • January 29-31, 1981 - Tony Clifton performs as the opening act for Rodney Dangerfield at the Fairfield Theatre, San Francisco, California. Clifton is almost killed by an angry audience member.

  • February 20, 1981 - As guest host for the ABC comedy show Fridays Andy creates general mayhem and turmoil during the live broadcast. This results in a scuffle between Andy and several cast and crew-members during the last sketch of the night. Andy insists the incident was a terrible misunderstanding.

  • February 27, 1981 - Fridays airs a video-taped apology from Andy. "It was an experimental piece...something different. This has been a very hard week for me. Because of last week's show, my job at Taxi is in jeopardy...my agent is having trouble convincing anybody to hire me. (To audience:) I think you laughing at it is pretty tasteless. Thanks to last week, I'm in a separation with my wife...I was just trying to have fun (begins to cry)."

  • March 3-6, 1981 - Participates in rehearsals and taping for the "Barbara Mandrell Show."

  • March 25, 1981 - Guest spot on The Midnight Special introducing Tony Clifton.

  • April 16, 1981 - Appears on Bob Pagani's popular New York City cable access show, "The Slycraft Hour".

  • April 21, 1981 - Performs at the Improv NYC.

  • June 8, 1981 - On The Merv Griffin Show Tony Clifton denounces Andy and emphatically denies that he and Kaufman are one and the same. Later Clifton says, "I am fed up with all the rumors that I am connected with Andy Kaufman. I am suing Andy Kaufman. He's in Hollywood. Mr. Hollywood. He thinks he's a BIG star. I'm tired of him using my good name to get places!!"

  • August 31, 1981 - Tony Clifton appears as a guest on The Merv Griffin Show.

  • August 31, 1981 - Tony Clifton begins a two-week engagement at the Lake Tahoe Starlight Caberet, Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

  • August 31 - September 13, 1981 - Appears at the Stateline Cabaret in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

  • September 18, 1981 - To begin Fridays second season, Andy returns as guest host. Appearing with the Fridays cast and crew for the first time since his February 20th fiasco, Andy is on his best behavior. In fact, Andy brings his fiance Kathie Sullivan, a gospel singer from Dallas, on stage to perform several Christian songs and talks to the audience about his newly found faith in Jesus Christ.

  • September 24, 1981 - Andy sits for an interview with "Playgirl" magazine.

  • October 11, 1981 - At Playboy's Atlantic City Hotel and Casino, Andy defends his World Intergender Wrestling Championship against Playboy Playmate, Susan (Miss September) Smith. Kaufman pins Smith in 18 minutes and 35 seconds. When told the proceeds from the show were being donated to charity Kaufman replies, "Charity? Nobody said anything about charity. I want my money. I earned it. If you want charity, go get Jerry Lewis."

  • October 12, 1981 - Andy defends his Intergender Wrestling Championship at the Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, Tennessee. Andy defeats three girls, and wrestles to a draw with one.

  • October 28, 1981 - Andy is interviewed by Good Morning America while bussing tables at Jerry's Famous Deli.

  • October 29, 1981 - Hosts Evening at the Improv.

  • November 8, 1981 - Attends the San Francisco Galleria Charity.

  • November 23, 1981 - At the Mid-South Coliseum, Andy wrestles a rematch with the woman he failed to defeat on October 12th. Andy wins easily.

  • December 18, 1981 - Co-stars with Bernadette Peters in the Universal Pictures movie, Heartbeeps. Kaufman and Peters star as two housecleaning robots who fall in love, set out on their own and search for happiness in the future world of 1995. The movie is a critical and box office disaster.

  • February 1982 - Playboy features a full-length article and pictorial of Andy's October '81 wrestling match with Playmate Susan Smith.

  • February 12, 1892 - Serves as guest referee for a Jerry Lawler wrestling match in the Chicago Amphiteater. No one cares . . .

  • Febuary 14, 1982 - Andy joins Danny DeVito and Judd Hirsch at a multistar centennial celebration to benefit the Actors' Fund of America.

  • February 17, 1982 - After appearing as a guest on David Letterman's ill-fated morning show, Andy makes his first of 10 appearances on Late Night with David Letterman. Incensed by author Albert Goldman's less than complimentary biography of Elvis Presley, Andy challenges Goldman to a wrestling match. Goldman does not respond.

    Dates of Andy's other Late Night guest spots -

  • Andy performs in concert -
    • March 26, 1982 - The Park West, Chicago, Illinois
    • April 16, 1982 - Ziegfields, Tulsa, Oklahoma
    • April 18-19, 1982 - University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
    • April 21, 1982 - Huntington, Pennsylvania (Juneata College)
    • April 29, 1982 - Patterson College, Wayne, New Jersey

  • March 2, 1982 - Tapes "Just for a Laugh" with Robin Williams for the American Film Institute special.

  • April 5, 1982 - At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee Andy finally wrestles Jerry Lawler and Lawler pile-drives Andy into the hospital, seriously injuring his cervical vertebrae. (See Late Night July 28, 1982 above.)

  • April 14, 1982 - Interviewed by Frank Gifford on Good Morning America.

  • April 15, 1982 - Appears as a guest on The John Davidson Show.

  • May 7, 1982 - Appears as a guest on the television show, Hour Magazine with host Gary Collins.

  • June 10, 1982 - At the office of Late Night with David Letterman (NBC, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, New York 10020), Robert Morton, Barry Sand and Sandra Farton witness and sign the Last Will and Testament of Andy Kaufman.

  • August 9, 1982 - Films My Breakfast with Blassie at Sambo's.

  • August 14, 1982 - Flies to Toronto, Canada to perform as Tony Clifton on The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show. (This is Andy's last appearance as "Tony Clifton.")

  • August 19, 1982 - Andy appears on the Catch a Rising Star 10th Anniversary Show. (Broadcast September 30, 1982)

  • September 25 - October 3, 1982 - Andy performs on California Governor Brown's Senatorial campaign tour. He performs in the following cities; San Diego, Fresno, Camarillo, San Jose, Palo Alto, Sacramento, Oakland, Eureka, and Redding, California.

  • October 30, 1982 - Concert at University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

    Kaufman & Lawler barnstorm across the mid-south

  • 1983 - Andy's wrestling career is chronicled during the filming of, I'm From Hollywood. The movie documents Andy's year-long battle for revenge against Jerry "The King" Lawler, and can be seen on the Comedy Central cable network every 36 days.

  • 1983 - The public backlash against Andy's wrestling makes it more and more difficult for George Shapiro to book gigs for Andy. And being voted off of Saturday Night Live several months earlier makes it practically impossible for him to get guest spots on other TV shows. David Letterman is the only one who continues to hire Andy.

  • February 18, 1983 - Cancelled by NBC, the 112th (and last) episode of Taxi is filmed at Paramount Stage 25.

  • April 20, 1983 - Performs at the Nederlander Theater on Broadway (2 performances) in the play, Teaneck Tanzi: The Venus Flytrap. The play goes dark after the first day.

  • April 24, 1983 - Writes "Louis XVI: A Play in 7 Acts."

    You Wanna Rassle Me Mr. Lawler?

  • May 26, 1983 - Andy is a guest on an L.A. television interview show called, "Up Close with Tom Cottle."

  • July 4-7, 1983 - Wrestles in several shows at the Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, Tennessee.

  • July 15, 1983 - PBS broadcasts the Soundstage special The Andy Kaufman Show. In an apparent attempt at reconciliation, Andy features a tribute to Tony Clifton in the form of a Tony Clifton marionette who serves as Andy's sidekick during the show.

  • September 1, 1983 - Buys fake boogers at the Palace of Magic in San Francisco.

  • November 7, 1983 - Andy plays the role of Dr. Vinnie Boombatz on The Rodney Dangerfield Special: I Can't Take it No More.(Broadcast November 29, 1983)

  • January 26, 1984 - Andy's last TV appearance. As a host for the show, "The Top," Andy introduces Cyndy Lauper in her first national television appearance.

  • March 20, 1984 - Andy's short film, My Breakfast with Blassie premieres at the Nuart Theatre in Westwood, California.

  • May 16, 1984 - News reports from Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, California announce that Andy Kaufman is dead at the age of 35, the victim of a rare form of lung cancer.

  • May 16, 1985 - Almost one year after Andy's death, Bob Zmuda dresses up as Tony Clifton and hosts a show at The Comedy Store. This one-time-only show raises money for cancer research in Andy's memory. It becomes the model for the "Comic Relief" charity fundraiser, and to date, "Comic Relief" has raised over $50 million dollars for the homeless.

(The information contained in this timeline is the result of research by The Andy Kaufman Home Page, and authors Bill Zehme, Mike Thomas. It includes facts taken directly from Andy's own personal notes and diaries.)


The Kaufman Chronicles

Frequently Asked Questions About Andy Kaufman

The Night Andy Hosted "Fridays"

Andy's Last Days

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