Andrew Geoffrey Andy Kaufman (January 17, 1949 – May 16, 1984) was an American entertainer, actor and performance artist. While often referred to as acomedian, Kaufman did not consider himself to be one. He disdained telling jokes and engaging in comedy as it was traditionally understood, referring to himself instead as a song-and-dance man. Elaborate hoaxes and pranks were major elements of his career. His act maintains a cult following and he continues to be respected among comedians for his original material, performance style, and unflinching commitment to character.