Gilbert Gottfried, comedian and actor, dead at 67



Comedian Gilbert Gottfried, known for his distinctive voice, loud delivery and unfiltered humor, died at age 67, his family announced Tuesday.

“We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Gilbert Gottfried after a long illness,” the funnyman’s family said in a statement.

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

The cause of death was the heart abnormality called recurrent ventricular tachycardia, according to the comedian’s representative Glenn Schwartz. 

Gottfried had long-suffered from myotonic dystrophy, a rare genetic condition that leads to wasting or weakening of muscles.

The Brooklyn native appeared in numerous films and TV shows over his career, but he may be best known for voicing the wisecracking parrot Iago in the Disney film “Aladdin.”

Gottfried’s best-known role may be the wisecracking parrot Iago in “Aladdin.”Ron Galella Collection via GettyGottfried also voiced a talking duck in a series of commercials for Aflac insurance, until he was fired in 2011 over controversial jokes about the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

Gottfried was born Feb. 28, 1955 and was doing stand-up comedy in New York City by age 15 at the start of a five-decade career in show business, according to his imdb bio.

He became a cast member of “Saturday Night Live” in the 1980s, and later made appearances in movies like “Problem Child” with John Ritter.

Gilbert Gottfried performs in a sketch on “Saturday Night Live” on November 22, 1980.NBCUniversal via Getty ImagesAs a standup, he built a reputation for lengthy setups and a politically incorrect sense of humor. His wisecracks about taboo topics sometimes got him hot water, which was the case when he went off script during an appearance at the 1991 Emmys and riffed on masturbation.

His comments went out live on the East Coast but were cut from the tape-delayed broadcasts in other time zones, the Associated Press reported.

Gottfried was a regular contributor to the Friar’s Club celebrity roasts, and one of his most infamous jokes came in that capacity shortly after the 9/11 terror attacks.

“I had to catch a flight to California, I can’t get a direct flight,” he said during the roast of Playboy honcho Hugh Hefner. “They said they have to stop at the Empire State Building first.”

He got booted as the Aflac duck in March 2011 during the backlash to tweets he made about the tsunami and ensuing nuclear plant meltdown in Fukushima.

“I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, ‘They’ll be another one floating by any minute now,’” went one of the jokes.

When he returned to TV that fall with a part in “Law & Order SUV,” he told The Post he was sticking to Twitter but “waiting for it to kill my career for good.”

The beloved comedian’s family did not give a cause of death.NBCUniversal via Getty Images“Funny thing about that incident,” he said. “The company fired me, and I became a bigger tragedy and accident than the actual tsunami. According to the media, I caused it.”

He said he loved how people had said his career was “totally over.”

“Whenever TV shows, newspapers, magazines do their top story on how your career is over, well – if my career was over, I wouldn’t be the top story.”

In recent years, Gottfried hosted the Amazing Colossal Podcast and became one of the most bankable stars on the Cameo app.

Tributes and laments poured in Tuesday in the wake of news of Gottfried’s death.

“I am stunned and gutted,” director and screenwriter Larry Charles said. “He was a sweet gentle man and also perhaps the funniest comedian I’ve ever seen.”

“F—k you death,” actor Patton Oswalt tweeted.

Gottfried also voiced the talking duck in a series of Aflac commercials.Disney via Getty ImagesShock comic Bill Burr tweeted an “RIP” to 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,” Burrs aid.

Star Trek actor George Takei wrote, “I shall miss you, my friend, my sometimes foil, my always pain in my side, usually from the belly laughs.”

“The heavens are a great deal louder with you out there now, I’m sure,” Takei said. “Keep ‘em shaking their heads and smiling, Gilbert.”

Read more

Advertisement
Previous articleLetters to the Editor — April 13, 2022
Next articleAl Pacino’s Shrek phone case has Twitter in a tizzy

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here