October 28, 2023 at 9:00am

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Elena Ferrarin

Article by Elena Ferrarin

Communications Coordinator
Northbrook Park District


For a special peek into the life of the late actor and comedian Andy Kaufman, who this year was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, come to Northbrook next week.

Andy Kaufman’s younger sister, Carol Kaufman Kerman, will tell stories and anecdotes about her brother, their upbringing in New York, and what he was like in private during a Storytelling Luncheon on November 8 hosted by the Northbrook Park District. The event is open to anyone ages 18 and up.

Kaufman Kerman, a storyteller and story educator who lives in Northbrook, is known for being an exceptional speaker, Northbrook Park District’s Leisure Center Coordinator Sally Norlie said. “I have not yet heard her speak, but I was told she’s fabulous and so interesting,” she said. “I am really looking forward to it.”

Andy Kaufman is best known for his role as Latka Gravas in the hit sitcom “Taxi,” which aired from 1978 to 1983. He appeared multiple times on TV shows, such as “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and “Saturday Night Live,” before dying of lung cancer at age 35 in 1984.

Nearly 40 years after his death, 2023 was “an amazing year” for her brother, Kaufman Kerman said. In March, he was inducted into the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) Hall of Fame, and in August, he was given the Hollywood star.

“Being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame probably would have been his biggest honor, had he been alive,” Kaufman Kerman said. Her brother incorporated wrestling in his act, and truly loved and respected the sport, she explained.

Andy Kaufman often was described as having an enigmatic persona, but to her, “he was just my older brother Andy,” Kaufman Kerman said. “In certain ways, he was very much ‘what you see is what you get.’”

The luncheon featuring Kaufman Kerman is unique for the Northbrook Park District, Norlie said.

“We have Barry Bradford, who talks about historical events, and we have Barbara Rinella, who reenacts books,” she said. “(Kaufman Kerman) will talk about her life and personal experiences, so we get a special look into Andy Kaufman’s life from someone who shared that with him.”

Storytelling is her way of keeping her loved ones alive, Kaufman Kerman said, quoting the saying, “A person dies two times. The first time with their last breath, and the second time the last time their name is uttered.”

“In my storytelling about my family —whether I am telling stories about Andy, my father, my mother, my grandma Lillie and my grandma Pearl — it keeps their name alive.”

The storytelling luncheon takes place from Noon-2pm on November 8 at the Senior Center, located inside the Leisure Center, 3323 Walters Avenue in Northbrook. Kaufman Kerman will speak for about 45 minutes, followed by a luncheon of gourmet sandwiches, fruit, dessert and beverages. Dietary needs can be indicated at registration. Tickets are $39 for members of the Senior Center and $49 for nonmembers.