We haven’t seen the last of Gilbert Gottfried.
There is apparently unseen footage featuring the comedian, who died on April 12 at the age of 67, in his role of the clever parrot Iago in Disney’s “Aladdin” as well as 200 hours of content left on his Cameo page.
The 1992 animated flick’s co-directors John Musker and Ron Clements believed that Robin William’s witty blue Genie needed a perfect folio to complement his character.
And Gottfried was that person to bring the villainous bird to life.
According to The Ringer, the filmmakers needed to sell their idea to then-Walt Disney Studios head Jeffrey Katzenberg. The pair played the chairman a clip from Gottfried’s film, “Beverly Hills Cop II,” in order to convince him of the late actor’s comedic chops.
“It’s almost 40 minutes into the movie when the Genie makes his first appearance,” Clements previously said. “It seemed like having another comedian really early on would help sort of set the tone. I think ‘Aladdin’ is really more of a comedy than most Disney movies … We thought Gilbert could bring some of that kind of humor earlier in the movie.”
“Kids see the movie now and most of them don’t know who Gilbert Gottfried is,” Musker added. “But they know Iago.”
Gottfried was able to improvise some of his lines during recordings, and many actually made it into the finished film. But the other material is gone with the wind and floating around somewhere in the Disney abyss.
In a Reddit AMA in 2016, the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles“ star noted, “The makers of Aladdin were very open to have me improvise. They gave me a lot of freedom but often they would have to stop and go, ‘Gilbert, this is a family film.’”
“I think there were things locked away,” Clements chimed in. “There were things with Robin, too. In terms of recording sessions, they tend to be loose and freewheeling. I think Gilbert had a lot of fun doing it.”
Gottfried was also one of the top earners on Cameo — a video app where fans can ask their favorite celebs to send them personalized messages. Viewers needed to fork over $175 per video, but the money was well spent, as he would bring in loads of five-star reviews for his work on the app.
The stand-up recorded about 12,000 Cameo messages altogether, earning him over $2 million. There are also about 200 hours of videos that he created before his passing, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“If Cameo had a Mount Rushmore,” Cameo’s co-founder and CEO Steven Galanis told THR recently, “Gilbert would certainly be on it.”
“He had a magic voice,” Galanis continued. “That voice worked so well on our medium. And he’d make faces. Every video is iconic. You want to share it.”
During the start of the pandemic in spring 2020, Gottfried revealed to the outlet that he “puts extra effort into things” for customers on the app. “I’ll look stuff up about what they do for a living and tailor my jokes to that,” he said at the time.
“Then I lock myself in the bathroom until I finish taping them all,” he said. “It’s become my recording booth.”
Gottfried’s work ethic is what helped be one of the highest-paid people on the software and Galanis praised him for that.
“He put the work in every day and gave it 110 percent,” the CEO stated. “Think in retrospect how sick he was. And yet he left it all out there. Even when he was ill, Cameo was a way for him to earn money for his family and pay his bills.”