Man on the Moon | 1999
Andy Kaufman, who died in 1984 at the age of 35, was considered one of the most innovative, eccentric and enigmatic performers of his time. A master at manipulating audiences, Kaufman could generate belly laughs, stony silence, tears or brawls. Whether inviting the audience out for milk and cookies or challenging women to inter-gender wrestling matches, he specialized in creating performances so real that even his close friends were never really sure where the real truth lay. Although described variously as "a nihilistic elf, a Zen guerilla, a dadaist comedian and the first true performance artist," Kaufman always preferred to think of himself as simply "a song and dance man." Kaufman grew from an Elvis impersonator to a performer who broke all the rules. By refusing to break character or let audiences in on the joke, he frequently pushed his art over the edge, leaving his audience alternately baffled and amused, but it was all part of the act.