“Gunther” from ‘Friends’ Passes Away

“Gunther” from ‘Friends’ Passes Away

November 8, 2021 0 By Stephen Callahan

After a three-year battle with cancer, actor James Michael Tyler died peacefully in his sleep on October 24th, 2021, at the age of 59 years old. His most well-known role was that of Gunther, the coffee shop owner and unrequited romantic with a hopeless crush on Jennifer Aniston’s Rachel Green on the hit television series Friends.

Following the actor’s death, tributes poured in from cast members, crew members, and fans, many of whom shared their memories of working with Tyler and the impact he had made in their own lives and careers. The Friends twitter account described him as “an integral part of [the] FRIENDS family”. As an avid supporter of the Lilli Claire Foundation and several AIDS Project charities in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, Tyler left an undeniable impact on the world in which he lived that went above and beyond his roles on the silver screen.

The most frequently-appearing recurring guest actor in Friends’s ten-year run, James Michael Tyler also made appearances on classic television shows like Scrubs and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. His final role was the Friends reunion in 2021, where he appeared as himself to talk about his history with the show.

Tyler was originally diagnosed with prostate cancer after a routine physical in 2018. He revealed his diagnosis in an NBC interview in June of this year and spoke candidly about how the cancer had spread. According to the Mayo Clinic, prostate cancer is one of the biggest causes of cancer-related deaths among men in the United States.

The reaction to Tyler’s revelation was widespread and immediate. Many fans and viewers reached out to Tyler and his family with encouragement and messages of support. Tyler’s interview also paved the way for a more open and honest discussion of prostate cancer and its effects on the body, as prostate cancer has historically been a less-often-discussed subject matter.

In July of 2021, a short film utilizing Tyler’s spoken word performance, If You Knew, served as both a tribute to Tyler’s life and career as well as a fundraiser for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. All proceeds generated by If You Knew will be donated to the Prostate Cancer Foundation to help individuals like Tyler who are facing this life-threatening disease.

Tyler is survived by his wife, Jennifer Carno.