After its Tuesday evening performance, Broadway’s “Aladdin” paid tribute to Gilbert Gottfried. Gottfried’s family shared that the comedian died after battling a long illness earlier in the afternoon.
Actor Don Darryl Rivera, who serves as the production’s original and continuing Iago, honored Gottfried with a speech during the show’s curtain call. Gottfried was the first actor associated with the role of Iago, lending his unmistakable voice to the mischievous macaw in the original 1992 animated film “Aladdin.”
“We’d like to take a moment to celebrate the life of a comedy legend, a funnyman with an indelible voice, the man who breathed life into Iago for the animated film, Mr. Gilbert Gottfried,” Rivera said. “I, along with five other actors worldwide, have the distinct privilege to bring Iago to life onstage. But I think one of the main reasons this character is who he is is because of what Gilbert brought to the animated film: his comedy and that voice — that voice that the New York Times once said sounded like a busted Cuisinart.”
Rivera continued by recounting his own meeting with Gottfried during the early days of the Broadway production.
“The curtain had just come down and out comes Gilbert from the wings. He put his arm around me and we snapped a few photos. But then, I pulled out this,” Rivera said, before producing a VHS copy of the 1992 film. “His eyes lit up like it was the magic lamp itself. He signed it for me and it’s still one of my most treasured possessions. Gilbert was really kind and sweet and surprisingly soft-spoken. He will be deeply missed by his friends and his family.”
Gottfried died Tuesday after battling a long illness. He was 67. His publicist informed press that he died of myotonic dystrophy type 2, a form of muscular dystrophy.
Watch the full tribute to Gottfried below: