Gilbert Gottfried, the actor and stand-up comic known for his raspy, burned voice and crude jokes, has died at the age of 67.
Ottfried died of recurrent ventricular tachycardia due to myotonic dystrophy type II, a condition that affects the heart, his publicist and longtime friend Glenn Schwartz 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 laugh as loudly as you can in Gilbert’s honor,” his family said in a statement released on Twitter.
Gottfried was a fiercely independent and intentionally bizarre comedian-comedian who was as likely to clear space with anti-comedy as he was to kill with his jokes.
He first came to national attention through frequent appearances on MTV in the early days and a brief stint on the cast of Saturday Night Live in the 1980s.
Gottfried also did frequent voice work for children’s television and films, most famously playing the parrot Iago in Disney’s Aladdin.
He was particularly fond of making obscure and dated impressions while he could milk them, including Groucho Marx, Bela Lugosi, and Andrew “Dice” Clay.
In his early days at The Comedy Store club in Hollywood, managers would have him do his impression of then-little-known Jerry Seinfeld at the end of the night to get rid of lingering guests.
Gottfried was particularly popular with his fellow comedians and performers.
“I’m so sad to read about the death of Gilbert Gottfried,” actress Marlee Matlin said on Twitter.
“Funny, politically incorrect, but a softie on the inside. We have met many times; he even pranked me on the plane and replaced my interpreter.”
Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander tweeted, “Gilbert Gottfried made me laugh sometimes when laughter didn’t come easy. What a gift.”
Gottfried was born in Brooklyn to a hardware store owner and homemaker father.
He started amateur stand-up at the age of 15.
“Gilbert’s brand of humor was brash, shocking and often offensive, but the man behind the jokes was anything but,” Gottfried’s friend and podcast co-host Frank Santopadre said in a statement.
He added that those “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.”
Gottfried is survived by his wife Dara, sister Karen, 14-year-old daughter Lily and 12-year-old son Max.
https://www.independent.ie/news/gilbert-gottfried-actor-and-stand-up-comic-known-for-his-raw-voice-and-crude-jokes-has-died-aged-67-41547781.html Gilbert Gottfried, the actor and stand-up comic known for his raspy voice and rude jokes, has died at the age of 67