Gilbert Gottfried, Stand-Up Comic & 'Aladdin' Voice Artist, Dies at 67
Legendary stand-up comic Gilbert Gottfried, whose whiny voice was his trademark, died Tuesday at 67.
Gottfried's death was announced by actor Jason Alexander, who tweeted, "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."
Immediately after Alexander's tweet, Gottfried's official account confirmed his death with a statement that read, "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," it went on, "please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert's honor. Love, the Gottfried Family."
Gottfried's publicist Glenn Schwartz told NBC News that he died from recurrent ventricular tachycardia due to myotonic dystrophy type II.
Recurrent ventricular tachycardia is a heart rhythm issue caused by irregular electrical signals in the lower chambers of the heart.
Born on February 28, 1955, in Brooklyn, Gottfried was a Season 6 "Saturday Night Live" cast member before settling on his abrasively funny vocal style. He as also a frequent guest on Howard Stern's radio show, where he did impersonations.
He made dozens of TV guest appearances, and made his film debut in 1984's "The House of God," and was in "Beverly Hills Cop II" (1987), "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane" (1990), "Problem Child" (1990), "Problem Child 2" (1991), "House Party 3" (1994), and "Problem Child 3: Junior in Love" (1995), among many other films.
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.
As a TV pitchman, he voiced the Aflac duck (until 2011, when he was fired for making insensitive jokes about the Japanese earthquake and ensuing tsunami). He also voiced Iago in Disney's "Aladdin" (1992) and "Aladdin 2: The Return of Jafar" (1994) and various spin-offs and games; a dog in "Doctor Dolittle" (1998); Jared Kushner on several "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" (2017-2019) segments; Kraang Sub-Prime on the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" TV series (2014-2016); and Digit from "Cyberchase" (2002-2022), among many other voice roles.
Among other accomplishments, Gottfried was a regular on "The Hollywood Squares," memorably exclaiming "you fool!" every time two contestants got a question wrong (nine times in a row) on a 1999 episode.
A longtime resident of NYC's Chelsea neighborhood, Gottfried is survived by his wife of 15 years, Dara, and their kids Max, 12, and Lily, 14.