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Out Of All Of Gilbert Gottfried's Film Roles, One Stands Above The Rest

Gilbert Gottfried was one of the most notable and recognizable comedians in recent memory. The star passed away at age 67, according to a statement released by his family on Twitter. Best remembered for his signature, shrill voice and vulgar jokes, Gottfried had a healthy career as a stand-up comedian and actor, appearing in dozens of notable specials, films, and television shows throughout his lengthy tenure. The iconic funnyman now leaves behind a long and fascinating cinematic legacy that is ripe with gems.

One of Gottfried's most notable roles after leaving "Saturday Night Live" was as accountant Sidney Bernstein, who playfully trades remarks with Eddie Murphy's Detective Axel Foley in "Beverly Hills Cop II." The memorable appearance in the action-comedy was outshined by a role as Hitler in the cult B-movie "Highway to Hell," which also starred father-son duo Ben and Jerry Stiller. Gottfried later reunited with Murphy in "Dr. Dolittle" as the voice of Compulsive Dog, and appeared as Abraham Lincoln in Seth MacFarlane's "A Million Ways to Die in the West." 

While it's hard to imagine any of these films without Gottfried's impeccable comedic timing and one-of-a-kind voice, his cinematic role that stands up above the rest is in an iconic Disney film.

Iago from Aladdin is Gilbert Gottfried's most iconic film role

"Aladdin" immediately became a cultural phenomenon when it hit cinemas in 1992, taking the crown as the highest-grossing film of the year (via Box Office Mojo). In the animated musical, Aladdin (Scott Weinger), a young thief, uses three wishes from a magical genie (Robin Williams) to help Princess Jasmine (Linda Larkin) fall in love with him. Along the way, the streetsmart Aladdin has to face off against the evil Jafar (Jonathan Freeman) and his sarcastic, bitter parrot, Iago (Gilbert Gottfried).

The caustic and cruel parrot has become synonymous with the comedian, which is no surprise, as outlets like The Rolling Stone praised Gottfried's performance at the time of the film's release. The comedian clearly felt some ownership over the role as he indirectly voiced his anger about being replaced by Alan Tudyk in the 2019 live-action "Aladdin" remake.

Gottfried recounted in "Hollywood's Greatest Untold Stories" (via Entertainment Weekly) how voicing Iago was one of his most memorable works. The actor said, "I remember the movie came out, and it was a monster hit. Still, when I look at my career, I look at that one and say I know for a fact that one is a quality work."

After the initial release of "Aladdin," Iago became a constant in Gottfried's career. The comedian went on to voice the angry parrot for two direct-to-video sequels, an animated series, and a variety of video games, including "Kingdom Hearts." Though the character first began as Jafar's minion, the parrot outgrew his master's reigns and eventually became an anti-hero in later appearances. To this day, Iago continues to entertain new and old audiences who find themselves drawn to Disney's animated "Aladdin" mythos.