R.I.P. Gilbert Gottfried, comedian and actor known for his iconic voice

His wit was as sharp as the squawk he gave the parrot Iago in Aladdin and the Aflac duck.

The Everett Collection

Gilbert Gottfried had one of the most, if not the most, recognizable voice in Hollywood. For his standup routines, he put on a shrill, nasally tone that complimented his biting, sometimes vulgar humor. He was a favorite at celebrity roasts. 

His inflection also made him the perfect choice for talking birds, both animated and not. He famously voiced Iago, the parrot of villain Jafar in the Disney film Aladdin as well as the Aflac duck in countless commercials. 

Born in Brooklyn in 1955, Gottfried started performing comedy as a teenager. At 25, he joined Saturday Night Live for a short stint during the infamous 1980 season – the year without Lorne Michaels at the helm.

Even if he didn’t break out on the sketch series, he continued to work as a standup and won small roles in Eighties movies like Bad Medicine and Beverly Hills Cop II

On TV in the Nineties, he appeared in three episodes of Night Court as Oscar Brown during the show’s final season. He also guest starred in A Different World, Wings, and Married… with Children where he played himself.

In recent years, Gottfried hosted Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast where he talked to a wide variety of guests about pop culture, including his love for the TV of his childhood. In fact, he and sportscaster Bob Costas raved about The Rifleman and just this year, Toon In With Me’s own Bill Leff talked classic cartoons on the show. 

Gottfried's love of classic cartoons didn't end there. In fact, he appeared on MeTV's Toon In With Me as a special guest.

In a statement, the Gottfried family said, “We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Gilbert Gottfried after a long illness. 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 iconic comedian was 67. 

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DIGGER1 25 months ago
First of all, let me say that I'm very sorry that I haven't been on this site in a while, especially even to lend my condolences and respects to the celebrities who have been passing away lately and are being mentioned here on the "ME-TV" website, but I, myself, have been busy as of late doing errands for my parents.

In any case, here is my "TRIBUTE" to a great actor and comedian:

R.I.P., GILBERT JEREMY GOTTFRIED(B.02/28/1955-D.04/12/2022).
Grizz 26 months ago
Met him in L.A. in the 80s along with many other upcoming comics he was always friendly, funny genuinely a nice guy. Never treated me like just a bouncer... R.I.P.
Aflac did you wrong!
RichLorn 26 months ago
Sad. In addition to the other roles, he played old man Carlton Blanchard's greedy son Lewis on the series Wings.
JL1965 26 months ago
Gilbert Gottfried also did a small part as a Escort Service Owner and Wedding Chapel person in Zak & Kelly’s wedding on “Saved By The Bell “
vinman63 26 months ago
I liked him in the Problem Child movies.
UTZAAKE 26 months ago
Gilbert Gottfried voicing the Aflac duck was nowhere close to being as annoying as the company's acronym name which always reminds me of Ben Affleck, one of my least-favorite actors of all time.
vinman63 UTZAAKE 26 months ago
I liked Ben in Dare Devil.
KawiVulc 26 months ago
At just about every well, duh moment I hear Gilbert Gottfried voicing Iago the parrot giving a bit of back talk to Jafar... "Well, there's a surprise, I'm about to have a heart attack and die from that surprise!" A superb voice performance by a very unique voice. RIP.
AnnaRentzVandenhazel 26 months ago
Don't forget the commercials! Before he was voice of the Aflac duck, he also did commercials for Oh Henry candy bars. That was when my husband started calling him "the most annoying person on television", but I figured he was playing a part.
Yes he did have a voice aside from his on air persona. It was all playing a part. It is certainly memorable as most associated Gilbert with that voice. I can think of a few personalities that had annoying persona's (not a bad thing if it sells , jmo). R.I.P. to Mr. Gottfried.
Runeshaper 26 months ago
R.I.P. Gilbert Gottfried. Thanks for the laughs!

He really did have a very distinct voice and was perfect for Iago in Aladdin.
Michael 26 months ago
I must have seen him on SNL. But what immediately comes to mind was his appearances on Night Court. He seemed so snarly. I didn't dislike the character,but he put so much into that snarling.

My vague impression is that over time it became more subdued. There has to be a reason I'm sorry to read that he died.
LoveMETV22 Michael 26 months ago
Whenever he made appearances he always used his snarly voice persona.
Rolling Stone did a good article about him:


There is a Youtube clip of him where he isn't using his snarly voice within that Rolling Stone article.
Rick 26 months ago
Surprised the article didn't mention the many appearances Gottfried made on Me-TV's own Svengoolie. He must have been a pretty big fan.
Michael Rick 26 months ago
Or maybe Svengoolie was a fan of Gilbert
LoveMETV22 Rick 26 months ago
Although the article didn't mention his appearances on Svengoolie:
From Gilbert Gottfried's IMDb bio- Under the Self category:

Svengoolie (TV Series) 2007-2018
Self - Guest / Self - 'Svengoolie Stomp' Cameo / Self - Guest (2016 airing) / ...
- Have Rocket -- Will Travel (2018) ... Self - Guest
- The Frozen Ghost (2016) ... Self - 'Svengoolie Stomp' Cameo
- Calling Dr. Death (2016) ... Self - Guest
- Black Friday (2014) ... Self - Guest (2016 airing)
- The Mummy's Tomb (2008) ... Self - Guest (2017 airing)
- House of Frankenstein (2007) ... Self - Guest (2018 airing)
CoreyC 26 months ago
Gilbert was an SNL member the season after the original Not Ready For Prime Time Players left.
Barry22 26 months ago
RIP. I remember him from that dismal season he was on SNL.
justjeff 26 months ago
I had mixed feelings about Gilbert Gottfriend because of the persona he'd affected after SNL with the squint and grating voice. I used to joke that the "couple from Hell" would be Gottfriend and Fran Drescher making love...

However, I did find him entertaining as Iago in Aladdin, as Digit in PBS' Cyberchase and as the Aflac duck. Despite my feelings about him professionally, I was still saddened to hear of his passing - from a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy that affected his heart.

Some people can't separate stage persona from the real person, but I would *never* have wished him the suffering his illness caused despite me not being an avid fan. May he rest in peace. He's left a legacy for many to enjoy for years to come.
StrayCat 26 months ago
Gottfried was a comedian with an iconic voice and sharp wit. However, his wit didn't go over with the politically correct mob and they got AFLEC to cancel him over some perceived incorrect bit of humor.
I heard he'd died when he was no longer the Aflac duck. Which is why I was so surprised to see this article. I suppose it was a false rumor leaked to the media after he left Aflac.
DocForbin 26 months ago
Let's not forget that he was also the host of the Saturday edition of "USA Up All Night" (Rhonda Shear hosted the Friday edition). In one episode he claimed to be the "fifth Ramone".
Peter_Falk_Fan 26 months ago
He was great as the voice of Iago in Disney's "Aladdin". I would always tune in "Late Night with David Letterman" whenever Gilbert was on. He always made me smile or laugh.

R.I.P. Gilbert Gottfried...and thanks for the laughs.
MrsPhilHarris 26 months ago
This is a surprise. Svengoolie had him on now and again.
Zip 26 months ago
There was a short period when I listened to Howard Stern, when he was funny, and the times he had Gilbert on were the BEST! Gilbert was hysterical, and very creative. He also did a great Bela Lugosi voice.
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