Gilbert Gottfried, the famously ribald comedian and actor with one of the most recognizable voices in entertainment, has died at the age of 67.
The Gottfried family confirmed the star’s death on social media. “We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Gilbert Gottfried after a long illness,” they wrote. “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.”
Born on Feb. 28, 1955, Gottfried began performing standup around New York in his teens. He was hired as a cast member on Season 6 of Saturday Night Live, though he hated the rigidity of the show and left after one season. Gottfried made his film debut in 1984’s The House of God and appeared in 1987’s blockbuster comedy Beverly Hills Cop II, starring his former SNL co-star Eddie Murphy.
Gottfried appeared in a string of successful movies throughout the ‘90s and became known as a go-to voice actor, lending his talents to Look Who’s Talking Too, Aladdin and Dr. Dolittle. From 2000 to 2011, Gottfried also voiced the Aflac Duck in the company’s commercials. He was fired from the job in 2011 after making jokes about the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Twitter.
Gottfried was also known in his standup for his exaggeratedly shrill voice and staggeringly crude humor. He helped popularize “The Aristocrats,” a decades-old, off-color joke told by comedians since the vaudeville era, by delivering it during the 2001 Friars’ Club roast of Hugh Hefner. It was just one of many hilarious and contradictory achievements by a performer with the range to pull them all off.
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