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Vacant Latka

Andy Kaufman's pals plan party, just in case. It's been exactly 20 years since the comic's death, the date he said he'd return if he'd been faking his demise

Ever since Andy Kaufman died of lung cancer in 1984, rumor had it that the comic and hoax artist might have faked his own death. The cagey comedian reportedly contributed to the rumor by suggesting that, if he did falsify his demise, he'd resurface 20 years later to the day. So his friends are planning a tribute party on that day, May 16, on the off chance that he might show up, the Associated Press reports. Bob Zmuda, the ''Taxi'' star's best friend and comedy partner, announced that he'd try to get word of the party to Kaufman, wherever he may be. ''Over 100 personal ads will be taken out across the country and abroad, reminding him of his words,'' Zmuda said. ''Will he show?'' Tickets to the ''Andy Kaufman -- Dead or Alive'' bash, to be held at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, promise a ''celebrity reception (hopefully with Andy).'' One celebrity who is scheduled to perform, according to Zmuda, is venomous Vegas lounge singer Tony Clifton -- who was, of course, one of Kaufman's alter egos. We're not sure which would be scarier: if Clifton does turn out to be a long-reclusive Kaufman, or if he turns out to be real.

Originally posted May 11, 2004
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