Gilbert Gottfried, Iago in Aladdin, dies at age 67

Gilbert Gottfried speaks into a microphone
Gilbert Gottfried (Image credit: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Gilbert Gottfried, who was instantly recognizable on account of his unmistakable voice, has passed away at the age of 67. His family shared the news on social media on Tuesday, April 12, saying he died after battling a long illness.

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Gottfried was a comedian but is most recognizable for providing the voice work for two iconic birds. The first was Iago in Disney’s animated Aladdin movies and TV shows, the other was spending years as the voice of the Aflac duck in numerous commercials for the insurance company. 

While those may be the two roles most associated with Gottfried, his career in TV and movies dates back to 1980 and included a short stint on Saturday Night Live, roles in Beverly Hills Cop II, Problem Child and guest roles on shows like Married… with Children, Mad About You, Wings, Law & Order and more.

Before appearing on screen, Gottfried, a native New Yorker, was a stand-up comedian. He would also often be invited onto Howard Stern’s radio show.

Many fellow actors and comedians have shared their memories on Gottfried via social media. Jason Alexander said, "Gilbert Gottfried made me laugh at times when laughter did not come easily." Fellow comedian Dane Cook wrote that "Gilbert Gottfried was never not funny. He was a lovely guy, always friendly & made many people happy." Tiffany Haddish simply wrote, "This is a sad day."

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Over the last year a number of well-known comedians have passed away unexpectedly, including Norm Macdonald, Louie Anderson and Bob Saget.

Of course a great way to remember Gottfried will be to enjoy his work. Fans of Aladdin will be able to find the original 1992 movie and its two sequels, Aladdin: The Return of Jaffar and Aladdin: The King of Thieves streaming on Disney Plus (the Aladdin TV series featuring Gottfried as Iago is not on the streaming service).

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.