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Gilbert Gottfried Dead At 67

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I’ve always assumed the day 13-year-old Gilbert Gottfried’s voice changed was a day of chaos. His teacher would ask him how his weekend went, and suddenly this rough voice would bleat out “HEY-YA TOOTS, THE DOG ATE MY HOMEWORK, CAN YA BELIEVE IT!” And then she’d faint.

But what could’ve become a curse was instead turned into a blessing. Gottfried’s voice was so strange that it was almost destined for Hollywood, and especially the voice acting field. Though he had plenty of live-action roles (and an edgy stand-up career that would get his mouth in trouble frequently), Gottfried’s voice is a lot more well-known than his face. More than any other actor, you knew instantly who was playing that caterpillar or that platypus.

Throughout the 90s, Gottfried’s voice was one of the most commonly heard in all of animation. He played characters on Superman: The Animated Series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Fairly Oddparents, Duckman and countless others. And we can’t forget his most memorable role, that of Seymour Smoke The Smoke Detector in the educational school video Be Cool About Fire Safety.

Yeah, okay, it was Iago, everyone knows that. Gottfried not only portrayed the parrot in the feature film Aladdin, but was willing to reprise the role every single time the screeching bird reappeared in anything. And thanks to two direct-to-video movies, a three-season-long TV show, multiple video games and many other appearances over the next decade or so, this added up to a lot of mike time. But it was never an impersonator — always Gottfried.

Gottfried’s family announced this morning that his passing was due to a long battle with muscular dystrophy, a disease most people never knew he had…though it explains his manner of speech in his final appearances, which had become much slower. His final cartoon role was of nothing less than God, in the first season finale of Smiling Friends that aired on Adult Swim earlier this year.

Gottfried could have been the elitist type who demanded a million bucks per line, but he wasn’t that kind of dude. He would accept any job as long as it was fun — as evidenced by his surprise appearance on The Angry Video Game Nerd as Fred Fuchs. The man is truly irreplaceable. He was 67.