R.I.P. Gilbert Gottfried, Comedian and Voice Actor Dead at 67

The comedian and voice actor passed away following a "long illness"

Gilbert Gottfried

Gilbert Gottfried has died at the age of 67.

According to a statement released by his family on Tuesday, Gottfried passed away after a “long illness.”

“In an addition to being the most iconic voice in comedy, Gilbert was a wonderful husband, brother, friend and father to his two young children,” the statement reads. “Although today is a sad day for all of us, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert’s honor.”

Gottfried was known as a comedian’s comedian, whose brash, crude persona and unmistakable voice — equal parts shrill, obnoxious, and bombastic —  stood in hilariously stark contrast to his slight 5’5″ frame.

A native of Brooklyn, Gottfried began playing open mics in New York City at the age of 15, and was eventually recruited by Saturday Night Live to be a cast member for its retooled sixth season in 1980.  While Gottfried’s tenure on SNL was brief and mostly forgettable, it did parlay into in his first major on-screen film role — as accountant Sidney Bernstein opposite fellow SNL alum Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop II.

Gottfried was a frequent guest on The Howard Stern Show in the late 1980s, arguably the most popular and influential era of Stern’s radio show. While on air, Gottfried delivered impressive impersonations of fellow comic Andrew “Dice” Clay, Groucho Marx, and Dracula.

His vocal talents were further realized when he landed the role as Iago the parrot in Disney’s 1992 animated film version of Aladdin. Aside from Robin Williams’ Genie, Gottfried’s portrayal of the sharp and mischievous macaw stood out as the film’s most memorable performance.

The success of Aladdin led to a bevy of other voice roles, including as the Compulsive Dog in Dr. Doolittle, Art DeSalvo in the animated series Duckman, Dr. Bender / Wendel in The Fairly OddParents, and Digit / Widget in the PBS Kids series Cyberchase. The latter performance earned him a nomination for a Daytime Emmy Award. Gottfried also served as the voice of the Aflac Duck in commercials between 2000 and 2011. Check out out list of Gottfried’s 10 most iconic voice roles.

But Gottfried’s brand of comedy was not without controversy. Among the big comedy stars of the modern era, nobody enjoyed offending their audience more than him. “You want to feel like you’re going to go on a ride and there’s a chance it will kill you,” Gotfried said in 2019. Here are three memorable instances in which Gottfried’s comedy stepped over the line.

News of Gottfried’s death was met with an outpouring of tributes from the comedy world, with Jon Stewart, Richard Lewis, Conan O’Brien, Bill Burr, and Judd Apatow among the many comics who paid tribute.


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