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LOST IN THE FUNHOUSE - The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman

Lost in the Funhouse - The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman


Bill Zehme, whose renowned biography of Frank Sinatra, The Way You Wear Your Hat, sold more than 130,000 copies and was a New York Times bestseller, now gives readers the first full-scale, definitive biography of the brilliant, enigmatic, and controversial late comic, Andy Kaufman. With public interest in Kaufman at an all-time high, especially given the arrival of Academy Award-winning director Milos Forman's new film starring Jim Carrey, Man on the Moon, LOST IN THE FUNHOUSE takes readers on a unique journey through the complicated mind and soul of a great artist in what will be the biography of the decade.

In the last original era of American comedy, the 1970s, a handful of young comedians looked away from the last vestiges of vaudeville to create a new form of the art. Working situations instead of bits, characters instead of jokes, these young funnymen would draw laughter in ways the entertainment industry had never imagined. At the forefront of this movement was Andy Kaufman. From his debut on television's Saturday Night Live, where he stood nervously next to a scratchy record playing the Mighty Mouse theme, lip-syching Might Mouse's cry of "Here I come to save the day!" to his mainstream breakthrough as the lovable Latka Gravas on the sitcom Taxi, Andy Kaufman was breaking new ground, and hiding a vastly darker side.

Whether creating an alter-ego -- lounge lizard Tony Clifton - and demanding star privileges for him, or wrestling women, or insulting the entire citizenry of Memphis, Tennessee, whatever the "gag" was, Andy Kaufman was living in it. A complete original, part performance artist and part prankster, Kaufman lived his life as a relentless performance, and he inspired and enraged those around him and those watching him in equal measure.

Here, unfettered by sentiment, is one journalist's probing look into the short life and untimely death of a comedic genius. With full cooperation of Kaufman's family, friends, and colleagues, Bill Zehme takes readers on a ride never before experienced, and not soon to be forgotten.

BILL ZEHME is the author of The Way You Wear Your Hat: Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin'. His celebrity profiles have appeared in Esquire, Rolling Stone, and Playboy, among others. He lives in Chicago.

Delacorte Press

$25.95 U.S./$39.95 Canada

ISBN 0-385-33371-4

Biography (384 pages)

Book design by Brian Mulligan

Photo insert design by Julie Schroeder

Cover page photograph by Wayne Williams

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