NEW YORK, July 30 (UPI) -- Anthony "Tony" Godby Johnson, a tenacious, AIDS-stricken child who got sympathy phone calls from numerous celebrities, is not real, the New York Post says.
Tony's existence has been the topic of speculation since suspicion arose that Vicki Johnson, the boy's mother and fiercely protective caretaker, had actually fictionalized the boy.
All the celebrities were encouraged to talk to the boy on the phone, but none met him in person. Some even endorsed his autobiography.
The suspicions began when Tony's voice over the telephone was found to bear a very striking resemblance to Vicki's, the Post said. Also cited were cultural references during phone conversations that seemed much too old for a 14-year old boy. Vicki always kept Tony out of the public eye, claiming he was too sick to ever see anyone, the newspaper said.
Author Armistead Maupin published "The Night Listener" in 2000, a fictionalized account of Maupin's six-year phone relationship with Vicki and Tony. The screen version of the book arrives Friday.
However, Maupin earlier had strong doubts of Tony's actual existence, the Post said -- and now a digital voice analysis has shown that Vicki and Tony are the same person, the newspaper says.