James Michael Tyler, Who Played Gunther on Friends, Dies at 59

James Michael Tyler, the person behind Pals’ omnipresent Central Perk barista “Gunther,” died Sunday, his supervisor told Variety. Tyler shared in June 2021 that he had been identified with stage 4 prostate most cancers and was present process chemotherapy. He was 59 years outdated. 

Recognized for his “shiny because the solar” hair and unrequited crush on Rachel, Gunther popped up in 150 of the long-running sitcom’s 235 episodes. Tyler simply had probably the most visitor appearances of some other actor on the present, the place he was promoted from a background participant to named character in season 2. “I bear in mind the primary day I walked on set as a background actor. Gunther was not a job,” told E! in 2019. “I used to be only a espresso man for a yr and a half. I got here in with bleached blonde hair—that had occurred the night time earlier than, as a result of my buddy was training to be a stylist, in order that was unintentional…It was the happiest accident, mistake, I ever made in my life.”

Past his recurring stint on Pals, Tyler appeared on TV sequence together with Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Simply Shoot Me!, and Scrubs. He additionally reunited with Matt LeBlanc on Showtime’s Episodes, as a fictional model of himself who had co-starred alongside LeBlanc on the pretend ice hockey TV present Pucks.

His most enduring position, nonetheless, shall be Gunther on Pals—a undertaking Tyler by no means hesitated to affiliate himself with. He opened a Central Perk pop-up in London in 2009 earlier than showing at an analogous 2014 Central Park installment in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. “Wardrobe let me hold the final tie Gunther wore within the scene the place he professes his love for Rachel,” Tyler informed BuzzFeed in 2014. “And on the wrap social gathering, I took the tie and I had your entire forged and the creators and writers of the present signal it for me. So, it’s this actually cool wanting, loud tie with a bunch of Sharpie on it.”

It was shortly after Tyler’s digital cameo on HBO Max’s 2021 Friends reunion that he shared his stage IV prostate cancer diagnosis to At present’s Craig Melvin. Tyler was identified in September 2018 throughout an annual checkup. By the point of the reunion, Tyler’s most cancers had unfold to his backbone, inflicting paralysis of his decrease physique. He stated it was his choice to look on the reunion just about, “as a result of I didn’t wanna carry a downer on it, ?” Tyler defined. “I didn’t need to be like, ‘Oh, and by the best way, Gunther has most cancers.’”

Tyler informed Melvin that he’d be dedicating the remainder of his life to advocating for early prostate most cancers detection. He additionally stated that his prognosis made him recognize every day. “It’s made me, personally, simply notice how vital each second is, every single day,” he stated. “And combating. Don’t hand over. Preserve combating. Preserve your self as mild as doable.”

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https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2021/10/james-michael-tyler-dies-gunther-friends | James Michael Tyler, Who Performed Gunther on Pals, Dies at 59


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