It has been sadly announced that legendary comedian, actor, and voice actor Gilbert Gottfried has passed away. The man began his career back in 1980, and he would soon garner many prolific roles, including being part of the Problem Child franchise. While he has appeared in plenty of films throughout the decades, there is none better than the comedian lending his voice to Iago in the film Aladdin. Aladdin is arguably one of the biggest animated Disney films of all time, and Gottfried’s shrill and loud voice was perfect for Jafar’s right-hand man, or right-hand parrot. To honor the man’s memory, everyone can watch Aladdin right now, as it is currently streaming on Disney+.
Aladdin was released in 1992 and remains one of Disney’s best-animated features. Per Rotten Tomatoes, Aladdin sits at a “certified fresh” 95% critic rating. The audience score also sits at a whopping 92%. Simply put, this film ranks as one of the highest, even though it came over 30 years ago. Based on all the animated features from Disney, it also sits at #9 on their all-time rating list on Rotten Tomatoes, even beating out the highly successful Lion King. It was the highest-grossing film of 1992 and remained the highest-grossing animated film of all time with $504 million at the box office until the Lion King passed those numbers. It was also the first animated feature to hit the half a billion mark in cinema history. The film went on to win an Academy Award for Best Original Score and Best Song for “A Whole New World.” Gilbert Gottfried was part of one of the biggest successes in animated film history. He was also quite hilarious in the many moments where Iago takes center stage.
Aladdin follows the life of Aladdin, a young street thug who makes his way through Agraba by stealing what he needs to survive. His life is changed when he meets Princess Jasmine, who is pretending to be a beggar in the streets so she can escape the stringent rules of palace life. Her father, the sultan, wants her to marry, but Jasmine thinks she should pick her husband. She escapes and in turn, gets Aladdin in trouble. He is to be executed, until the evil Jafar, the sultan’s advisor, tricks Aladdin into retrieving a long-lost lamp that houses a genie. When the genie is released, he grants amazing powers to Aladdin, those powers are ones that Jafar covets, and he attempts to retrieve the lamp from Aladdin. Iago (Gilbert Gottfried) steals the lamp and brings it to Jafar, who uses it to become an all-powerful sorcerer. He means to take over Agraba and force Jasmine to be his wife until Aladdin tricks him into the servitude of being a genie.
On top of being one of the most successful animated films, it contains some of the best music and songs out of any of the Disney repertoire. That is surely the case as per the two Academy Awards that were given for the film’s music. That, and the humor in the film is top-notch. While Gilbert Gottfried portrays Iago as a foul-tempered hang-around parrot for Jafar that hates the sultan and everything about the palace. He especially hates the crackers that are force-fed down his throat. The above video shows the torture that the character endures as being a parrot that apparently loves crackers. Gottfried’s iconic and shrill voice is the perfect accompaniment for this character.
Aladdin would go on to spawn two straight-to-DVD sequels one of which saw the return of Gilbert Gottfried as Iago, Aladdin 2: The Return of Jafar. He also returned to voice Iago in the Aladdin animated series. Clearly, his comedic timing and iconic voice were enough to land him roles as the foul-tempered parrot for well over 10 years.
Aladdin is one of the best and most important animated films in cinema history. Gilbert Gottfried may have passed away, but we can all honor him by watching his expert portrayal of one of the most iconic characters in Disney history, Iago. While the idea is to love the heroes of the stories, Iago gets a pass due to his hilarity. He wasn’t all that evil, except when getting back at the sultan for force-feeding him crackers. He in turn forces them to the sultan when Jafar takes over. Aladdin is streaming on Disney + right now. Rest in peace, Mr. Gottfried.