Gilbert Gottfried, one of the greatest comedians in the world and an unlikely Disney star, died Tuesday, his family has announced. He was 67.
“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,” Gottfried’s family said in a statement on Twitter.
— Gilbert Gottfried (@RealGilbert) April 12, 2022
Gottfried died at 2:35 p.m. ET on Tuesday from Recurrent Ventricular Tachycardia due to Myotonic Dystrophy type II—a cardiomyopathy characterized by localized or widespread fibro-fatty infiltration of the right ventricular myocardium, which can result in heart failure and sudden death—Gottfried’s friend and longtime publicist Glenn Schwartz told NBC News.
Long before starring as the parrot Iago in Disney’s Aladdin, the Brooklyn-born Gottfried survived the 1980-81 season of Saturday Night Live and built a dedicated following with appearances on Late Night with David Letterman through the 1980s, where one of his earliest standout standup bits revolved around his fascination with cheeses.
Gottfried was also the hands-down G.O.A.T.-teller of the world’s dirtiest joke, as he proved in the film The Aristocrats, and a roast master with no equals whose dark sense of humor got him fired from his gig as the Aflac duck but also earned him applause and laughter mixed with shouts of “Too soon!” at the Friar’s Club roast of Hugh Hefner in Manhattan just weeks after the 9/11 attacks.
Gottfried was also famously frugal. His bountiful hoard of hotel soaps, shampoos and other free sundries was the stuff on legend on The Howard Stern Show, Opie and Anthony, Compound Media and, most recently, on SiriusXM’s Jim Norton and Sam Roberts—where, after the death of his friend Bob Saget, Gottfried had to explain that his roast material about Saget being a murderer was a joke.
— Gilbert Gottfried (@RealGilbert) October 16, 2018
On Tuesday, Jim Norton, also a longtime friend of Gottfried’s and a fellow regular at the Comedy Cellar in the West Village, tweeted, “Hotel managers from all over the country will be going to Gilbert’s funeral with the hopes of getting their soaps and shampoos back. RIP Gilbert, you were loved by every comic.”
Hotel managers from all over the country will be going to Gilbert’s funeral with the hopes of getting their soaps and shampoos back.
RIP Gilbert, you were loved by every comic.
— Jim Norton (@JimNorton) April 12, 2022
Colin Quinn, another close friend of Gottfried’s and a Cellar dweller, wrote, “The first comedian I saw who would go on and all the other comics would go in the room to watch. ‘Boris Karloff being sarcastic’ ‘Humphrey bogart at the post office’ etc. @RealGilbert”
The first comedian I saw who would go on and all the other comics would go in the room to watch. “Boris Karloff being sarcastic” “Humphrey bogart at the post office” etc. @RealGilbert
— Colin Quinn (@iamcolinquinn) April 12, 2022
In Gottfried’s final tweet on March 28, he goofed, “Which is the worst crime? Chris Rock being physically assaulted or Chris Rock telling a joke?”
Which is the worst crime? Chris Rock being physically assaulted or Chris Rock telling a joke? pic.twitter.com/ols0kXGAeu
— Gilbert Gottfried (@RealGilbert) March 29, 2022
Gottfried is survived by his wife Dara, daughter Lily, 14, son Max, 12, sister Karen and nephew Graham.
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