Gilbert Gottfried Dies At 67 After Battle With Muscular Dystrophy
Comedian and actor Gilbert Gottfried, who is best known for his role as the parrot Iago in Aladdin, his immediately recognizable shrill performing voice, and some of the crudest and most hilariously controversial stand-up comedy sets ever attempted, has died at the age of 67 according to a statement from his family.
A statement posted to Gotttfried’s social media accounts from his family first confirmed the news Thursday afternoon. “in addition to being the most iconic voice in comedy, Gilbert was a wonderful husband, brother, friend and father to his two young children,” it read in part. His publicist told The Washington Post that Gottfried passed away due to complications from muscular dystrophy.
— Gilbert Gottfried (@RealGilbert) April 12, 2022
Gilbert Jeremy Gottfried was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 28, 1955, to Lillian (née Zimmerman) Gottfried and Max Gottfried. Max Gottfried ran a hardware store that the family lived above and Lillian was a homemaker. Gottfried began performing stand-up as a 15-year old and after several years in the New York scene, he got a break as a cast member on the sixth season of Saturday Night Live. While Gottfried often cut off the show and left after a season, he continued gaining profile as a stand-up when he became a regular guest on Howard Stern’s radio shows.
With the combined appeal of Gottfried’s famous characters in children’s media, and his increasing presence at comedy roasts and Hollywood panel shows, Gottfried became one of the most recognizable and enduring personalities for many years. From 2014 until his death, Gottfried hosted the podcast Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast which included guests like Dick Cavett, Weird Al Yankovic, Whoopi Goldberg, and plenty of other big names in comedy and Hollywood in general.
Gottfried had both a storied career in family TV and movies with his exaggerated performing voice but was also known for distinctly family-unfriendly comedy routines at roasts of notable people and his regular act. Gottfried frequently toyed with controversy with both crude material in his sets, and occasionally by joking about tragedies at times some would say were too soon.
The comic famously made a joke about the September 11 attacks only three weeks after they happened, going on to lose the audience and then win them back with an even more crass rendition of the joke “The Aristocrats,” which we won’t get into here. He also got fired as the iconic voice of the Aflac duck after making jokes on Twitter about the 2011 earthquake in Japan and was later replaced by a Gilbert Gottfried impersonator.
Even until his death, Gottfried was actively touring as a comedian and continued to record interviews on his podcast. He is survived by his wife Dara Kravitz, their daughter Lily and son Max, and his sister Karen.