Gilbert Gottfried’s Unusual ‘Star Trek’ Connections

Glibert Gottfried and Nichelle Nichols

Archangel Films Gilbert Gottfried poses for a photo with 'Star Trek' actress Nichelle Nichols.

Gilbert Gottfried’s association with “Star Trek” was “UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!” The groundbreaking, controversial, screechy-voiced comic, who died on April 12 at the age of 67, never actually appeared in an official “Star Trek” film or television show, but he circled the franchise when he co-starred in the ‘Star Trek” spoof “UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!,” which featured more than 40 actors from across the “Star Trek” franchise, including “The Original Series,” “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine,” “Voyager,” and “Enterprise.”

The independent film, which took eight years to make and was finally released in 2020, was a passion project for the husband and wife team of Steven Fawcette and Angelique Fawcette. He wrote and produced the film, while she produced and co-starred in it. A slapstick comedy in the vein of “Airplane!”, “UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!” follows an increasingly desperate effort to save the Earth when plants invade the planet. Snoop Dogg, who is also credited as a producer, stars as Major LeGrande Bushe, the invasion’s pot-smoking mastermind. Racing to stop Major Bushe is a marionette named Kirk Stillwood — which looks a lot like Captain James T. Kirk and is operated by veterans of “Team America” — and a brave if inept, trio of heroes played by Chase Masterson from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: Voyager” actors Garrett Wang and Tim Russ. Emmy Award-winner Gerald Fried, the last living composer from “Star Trek: The Original Series,” composed the film’s score.

Gottfried makes a cameo in the film, which also includes such other non-“Star Trek” names as Michael Madsen, a Quentin Tarantino regular, and Robert Davi, best known for his bad-guy roles in “The Goonies” and the James Bond adventure “License to Kill.” In the cast as well is Casper Smart, who dated Jennifer Lopez; Sam Asghari, the fiance of Britney Spears, who just announced that she’s pregnant with her first child with Asghari; and Katarina Van Derham, a model who played the girlfriend of Gottfried’s late close friend and fellow comic, Bob Saget, in an episode of “Entourage.”

In addition to Masterson, Russ, and Wang, the “Star Trek” actors involved — in either supporting roles or cameos — are Armin Shimerman, Vaughn Armstrong, Gary Graham, Anthony Montgomery, Linda Park, Robert Picardo, Marina Sirtis, Nana Visitor, Walter Koenig, Michael Dorn, Julie Warner, Dina Meyer, Olivia d’Abo, Jeffrey Combs, John Billingsley, Max Grodenchik, Casey Biggs, Gary Lockwood, Michael Forest, Jack Donner, Connor Trinneer, Manu Intiraymi, Dominic Keating, Brenda Bakke, Patti Yasutake, Steve Rankin, Michael Dante, Sean Kenney, BarBara Luna, Beverly Washburn, Celeste Yarnall, Bobby Clark, Jasmine Anthony, Menina Fortunato, McKenzie Westmore, Crystal Allen and Christopher Doohan (the son of original Scotty actor James Doohan). Yarnall and Donner have since passed away.

The ‘UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! Trailer 

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Over the years, Gottfried had crossed paths with various “Star Trek” stars. On March 22, 2021, Gottfried tweeted birthday greetings — and a typically dirty joke — to Captain Kirk actor William Shatner, who was turning 90 that day. Gottfried included an undated photo of himself with Shatner that was likely taken in the green room at an autograph show. The two men had appeared in the same episode of “The Jon Stewart Show” that aired on October 26, 1993.

Gottfried Celebrated William Shatner’s 90th Birthday

Gottfried also was no stranger to Sulu actor George Takei. On August 19, 2008, in New York City, Gottfried roasted Takei at Friars Club’s “So You Think You Can Roast?!” of Takei. Years later, in 2016, Takei was a guest on “Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast! with Frank Santopadre.” The nearly 90-minute interview was recorded in person at the Friars Club. On the day of Gottfried’s death, Takei took to Twitter to pay tribute to the comedian. “I shall miss you, my friend, my sometimes foil, my always pain in my side, usually from the belly laughs,” Takei wrote. “The heavens are a great deal louder with you out there now, I’m sure. Keep ’em shaking their heads and smiling, Gilbert.”

Takei Pays Tribute to Gottfried

Beyond his unusual “Star Trek” connections, Gottfried was best known as a standup comic and actor. He voiced the parrot Iago for “Aladdin” (and its spinoff television series) and the talking duck in numerous Aflac commercials, and, according to IMDB, appeared in such shows and movies as “The Aristocrats,” “Beverly Hills Cop II,” “Problem Child,” “Cyberchase,” “Celebrity Apprentice,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and several Comedy Central celebrity roasts. He was also the subject of the 2017 documentary, “Gilbert.”

People magazine confirmed through Gottfried’s publicist that the comedian’s official cause of death was Recurrent Ventricular Tachycardia due to Myotonic Dystrophy type II. According to The New York Times, he is survived by his wife, Dara, and their young children, Lily and Max, as well as his sister, Karen.

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