Actor and stand-up comedian Gilbert Gottfried, known for voicing the parrot Iago in Disney’s Aladdin animated films and series, has passed away. He was 67.
The news of Gottfried’s death was originally revealed by his fellow actor Jason Alexander on Twitter before subsequently being confirmed by Gottfried’s family in a statement shared on the late actor’s official social media accounts.
Gilbert Gottfried made me laugh at times when laughter did not come easily. What a gift. I did not know him well but I loved what he shared with me. My best wishes and sympathy to his family. #ripGilbertGottfried
— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) April 12, 2022
— Gilbert Gottfried (@RealGilbert) April 12, 2022
Gilbert Gottfried’s illness
Though Gottfried’s family didn’t specify his illness, Glenn Schwartz, his longtime friend and publicist, said that the actor died at 2:35 p.m. ET on Tuesday, April 12th, from recurrent ventricular tachycardia due to myotonic dystrophy type II.
Schwartz added that Gottfried became known as “the comedian’s comedian” “because his live performances put aside political correctness while he delivers jokes that know no boundaries.”
Gottfried’s manager, Tommy Nicchi, also issued a statement describing the late comedian as someone who was “as close as you’ll find to a living legend.”
Gilbert Gottfried’s movies and TV shows
In addition to being the voice of Aladdin’s Iago, Gottfried was also known for playing Digit LeBoid on PBS Kids’ long-running animated series Cyberchase, and Kraang Subprime on Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
On the movie front, Gottfried appeared as Mr. Peabody in the critically panned but commercially successful dark comedy Problem Child in 1990. His other movie credits include The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990) and Beverly Hills Cop II (1987). Gilbert, a documentary film on Gottfried’s life and career, came out in 2017.
Gottfried was also the voice of the Aflac Duck in insurance commercials years ago. He lost that gig after joking about the catastrophic 2011 tsunami in Japan, which was a notable example of his often-controversial sense of humor.
Gilbert Gottfried’s podcast
From 2014 until his death in 2022, Gottfried hosted a podcast, Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast, which featured discussions of classic movies and celebrity interviews, most often with Hollywood icons and legends, musicians, and comedy writers.
The podcast was co-hosted by Frank Santopadre, who described Gottfried’s humor as “brash, shocking and frequently offensive, but the man behind the jokes was anything but.”
“Those who loved him and were fortunate enough to share his orbit knew a person who was sweet, sensitive, surprisingly shy, and filled with a childlike sense of playfulness and wonder,” Santopadre said of Gottfried in a statement. “He’ll be dearly missed by family, friends, fans, and comedy lovers the world over. To quote Gilbert himself, ‘Too soon!’”
Remembering Gilbert Gottfried
Since the news of Gottfried’s passing was confirmed, various celebrities from all over Hollywood have taken to social media to mourn the actor and share unforgettable stories of their time with him. Below are some of them:
I am so sad to read about the passing of Gilbert Gottfried. Funny, politically incorrect but a softie on the inside. We met many times; he even pranked me on a plane, replacing my intepreter @655jack(they're like twins). Sending love to Dara & his children. RIP #gilbertgottfried pic.twitter.com/R4mxWBRsNo
— Marlee Matlin (@MarleeMatlin) April 12, 2022
Gilbert Gottfried meant more to me than you probably know. I have talked about this on my podcast and on his, but when I was 14 I got to see him do stand up, and it changed me. His subversiveness and bravery were unparalleled. And he made you fall down laughing. This sucks.
— Brian Koppelman (@briankoppelman) April 12, 2022
Sending love to @RealGilbert’s wife Dara, his family & fans. Gilbert Gottfried was never not funny. He was a lovely guy, always friendly & made many people happy.
— Dane Cook (@DaneCook) April 12, 2022
I saw Gilbert perform in 1985 and when he entered to applause he said, “Thank you, thank you very much.” He then continued to say “thank you” repeatedly for ten full minutes. It was the nerviest, funniest thing I had seen. So sorry to lose this sweet and delightfully funny man.
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) April 12, 2022
rest in peace to Gilbert Gottfried who has probably the best sequence in game show history on Hollywood Squares. if you're not an old hag like me who remembers the rules, both contestants needed his square to secure the 5-square win, but he decided to troll both of them pic.twitter.com/Egzyzygudd
— manny (@mannyfidel) April 12, 2022
This is a sad day. https://t.co/Ed7VbNPOTX
— Tiffany Haddish (@TiffanyHaddish) April 12, 2022
Rest In Peace Gilbert Gottfried! First time I saw him live he did his Jackie Kennedy bit: “Jackie do you remember where you were…” in front of drunk Bruins fans at Nicks. #RIPGilbertGottfried https://t.co/9w0offZEZG
— Bill Burr (@billburr) April 12, 2022
RIP Gilbert. Opening for Gilbert Gottfried at Carolines and Princeton Catch was one of the great thrills of my early stand up life. He could leave you gasping for breath…just indescribably unusually hilarious…Damn.
— Jon Stewart (@jonstewart) April 12, 2022
Nobody was funnier than @RealGilbert on a roll. He could put you into convulsive hysterics. He was also the sweetest man. His podcast is a comedy treasure. What a terrible loss. Sending my condolences and love to Dara and his family. https://t.co/qdZQV1A6sC
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) April 12, 2022
Rip Gilbert Gottfried, a brilliant comedian and just the sweetest guy. We worked together on “Goosed.” Everybody adored him. https://t.co/r37FeFjxjo
— Jennifer Tilly (@JenniferTilly) April 12, 2022
Heartbroken to read about the passing of Gilbert Gottfried
A legendary voice of my childhood
— “All Ego” Ethan Page (@OfficialEGO) April 12, 2022
I made Gilbert Gottfried laugh hard once. I've carried that around as a private badge of honor for years.
As a child of the 80s, he was always one of my late night heroes. No matter what thing he did, he was always also the Up All Night guy to me.
He will ABSOLUTELY be missed.
— C. Robert Cargill (@Massawyrm) April 12, 2022
Posting this to laugh while I cry. That time I got to Gilbert Gottfried with Gilbert Gottfried at COMICON, back in the #AMJoy days. What a great and funny guy. Rest in peace and deepest condolences to his family. ?? pic.twitter.com/p89vfJnVMO
— Joy-Ann (Pro-Democracy) Reid ? (@JoyAnnReid) April 12, 2022
Gottfried is survived by his wife Dara; 14-year-old daughter Lily; 12-year-old a son Max; his sister Karen; and nephew Graham.