Gilbert Gottfried was the voice behind Microsoft Word’s ‘Clippy’ paper clip
Comedian Gilbert Gottfried had one of the most recognizable voices in the world. With a long acting history, he breathed breathtaking life into a host of iconic characters. However, even hardcore fans might not have heard of one of his more obscure roles unless they were familiar with older word processing software. Let’s take a look at one of the weirdest gigs of a dearly departed talent.
One of his more obscure roles was as the Microsoft Word paperclip, Clippy
In 1990, Microsoft released its original suite of computer applications known as Microsoft Office. It certainly revolutionized the industry, but not without flaws. For starters, it might be hard to figure out how things worked unless you take the time to familiarize yourself with the program. Obviously he needed help to become friendlier.
In the Windows 97 update, the company made a number of good updates to its Office programs. For Word, the word processor, they introduced a character called Clippit. Nicknamed Clippy, he was a paper clip mascot that hung around the corner of your screen, offering suggestions on what to do as you typed.
This infuriated users. Despite their best intentions, the Microsoft programmers had created an extremely annoying mascot character. Rather than helping users understand Word, it became known as “that weird thing that gives useless suggestions.” It was not pretty.
With the introduction of Windows XP in 2001, the company began phasing out Clippy. To promote this, they created a series of Flash videos claiming to have “fired” Clippy because XP was easy enough to use that it was no longer needed. For these commercials, they needed someone to play the infamous assistant, and who better to do that than the most annoying man in showbiz?
AV Club recapped part of this advertising campaign. Along with the videos, Gottfried also voiced the character at the XP launch event, lamenting his loss of work during the new system’s introduction.
Clippy may be gone, but he and his voice actor live on in fan memories
As much as people hated Clippy while he was there, it was a shock when Microsoft finally got rid of him. Despite being more of a hindrance than a help most of the time, the character was oddly endearing. Even today you will find people who might have castigated him calling for his return. Microsoft itself still makes subtle references to it from time to time.
Likewise, Gottfried himself is fondly remembered by fans and friends around the world. Although he is characterized by his screams, those who have met him can speak of his kindness and talent.
Gottfried’s comedy and acting career was based on his voice
Even if you’ve never seen his face, you know Gottfried’s voice. His shrill and garish tones have been the basis of his comedic routine since his debut. Beginning on The Howard Stern Showhe continued to make numerous radio, film and television appearances for years.
For many, however, Gottfried’s voice acting is what they remember most. A quick look at his IMDb will show you how many characters he had under his belt. Without a doubt, his most famous role was that of the parrot Iago in Aladdin. He turned what could have been a forgettable animal sidekick into a major comedic force, reprising the character for both sequel movies, the TV series, and even the first. Kingdom Hearts Game.
Beyond that, however, he also played a number of other characters. In particular, he gave a truly unforgettable performance as the fifth-dimensional imp Mister Mxyzptlk in Superman: The Animated Seriesas well as hilarious parody performances like Jerry Seinfeld and Patrick Swayze in the short-lived Clerks cartoon.
RELATED: What Was Gilbert Gottfried’s Net Worth At The Time Of His Death?