Andrew Geoffrey "Andy" Kaufman (January 17, 1949 – May 16, 1984) was a popular and eccentric American entertainer, actor and performance artist. While often referred to as a comedian, 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." Pranks and elaborate ruses were major elements of his career. His body of work maintains a cult following and he continues to be respected for his original material, performance style, and unflinching commitment to character.