James Michael Tyler, the actor known widely for his recurring role as Gunther on Friends, has died. Tyler was first diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2018. “The world knew him as Gunther, from the hit series Friends, but Michael’s loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, cancer-awareness advocate, and loving husband,” Tyler’s representative Toni Benson wrote in a tribute. Tyler was initially cast while working as a barista at the Bourgeois Pig coffee shop in Los Angeles.
Actors from the television series uploaded tributes to the actor on Instagram. Jennifer Aniston, who played Rachel in the hit television series wrote, “Friends would not have been the same without you. Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and all of our lives. You will be so missed #JamesMichaelTyler”
Matt le Blanc wrote, “We had a lot of laughs buddy. You will be missed. RIP my friend. Courtney Cox wrote, “The size of gratitude you brought into the room and showed every day on set is the size of the gratitude I hold for having known you. Rest In peace James.” Lisa Kudrow, who played Pheobe Buffay wrote, “James Michael Tyler, we will miss you. Thank you for being there for us all. #jamesmichealtyler
Tyler appeared in 150 out of the 236 episodes in the series. Warner Bros Television, which produced the hit series, mourned the death of Tyler, “a beloved actor and integral part of our ‘Friends’ family”. After Friends concluded in 2004, Tyler made appearances on series like Scrubs, Modern Music and he played himself on an episode of Matt LeBlanc’s Episodes in 2012. While undergoing treatment he starred in two short films and gave a spoken word performance of the Stephan Kalinich poem If You Knew to help raise awareness for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
Tyler is survived by his wife, Jennifer Carno.
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