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Arguably his best known act, Andy Kaufman's "Foreign Man" persona was later adapted as the "Latka Gravas" character for the ABC sitcom, Taxi.
Though Kaufman's performances on the show were widely praised, even garnering him two Golden Globe Award nominations, Kaufman greatly disliked sitcoms and was unhappy about being so closely identified with Latka, which led him to clash frequently with the show's cast and crew.
Kaufman, Clifton insisted, was attempting to ruin Clifton's "good name" in order to make money and become famous.
As a requirement for Kaufman's accepting the offer to star on Taxi, he insisted that Clifton be hired for a guest role on the show as if he were a real person, not a character.
Sam Simon, who early in his career was a writer and later showrunner for Taxi, stated in a 2013 interview with Marc Maron for the WTF podcast that the story of Kaufman having been generally disruptive on the show was "a complete fiction" largely created by Bob Zmuda.
Kaufman's long-time manager, George Shapiro, encouraged him to take the gig.
Kaufman disliked sitcoms and was not happy with the idea of being in one, but Shapiro convinced him that it would quickly lead to stardom, which would earn him money he could then put into his own act.
Another well-known Kaufman character is Tony Clifton, an absurd, audience-abusing lounge singer who began opening for Kaufman at comedy clubs and eventually even performed concerts on his own around the country.
Sometimes it was Kaufman performing as Clifton, sometimes it was his brother Michael or Zmuda.