James Michael Tyler dies of prostate cancer| see 5 facts about him

According to his agent, James Michael Tyler passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles on Sunday morning. 

The official release reads:

The world knew him as Gunther (the seventh Friend)… but Michael’s loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, cancer-awareness advocate, and loving husband. If you met him once you made a friend for life. Wanting to help as many people as possible, he bravely shared his story and became a campaigner for those with a prostate to get a blood test as early as 40-years-old.

In June 2021, Tyler first revealed he had cancer and that the disease had spread across his body, leaving him unable to walk on NBC’s Today Show. He said: “I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones. I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years… it’s stage 4. Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.

James Michael Tyler, who is most famous for playing Gunther, the manager of Central Perk in the hit sitcom Friends, died at 59. In May, he had appeared on Friends: The Reunion via Zoom as he was unable to attend in person due to his health issues.

It was the most memorable 10 years of my life, honestly. I could not have imagined just a better experience. All these guys were fantastic and just a joy to work with. It felt very, very special,” he said during the digital appearance.

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James Michael Tyler Early life

James Michael Tyler was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, on 28 May 1962 and named after an uncle. Both his parents died when he was young, and as the youngest of five siblings, he moved in with his older sister in South Carolina at age 12.

In 1982 he graduated from Anderson College, which is now known as Anderson University. He also did a two-year degree at Clemson University, and during his time at the university, he was a member of a student theatre group, the Clemson Players.

This experience sparked his interest in becoming an actor. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Georgia in 1987, and in 1988, he moved to Los Angeles and became a production assistant on the film Fat Man and Little Boy and became an assistant film editor.

James Michael Tyler Career

James Michael Tyler played Gunther in Friends From 1994 to 2004. In the movie Friends, Gunther was a Central Perk coffee shop worker who fell in love with Rachel Green (played by Jennifer Aniston). This led to a ten-year career with appearances in 148 of Friends’ 236 episodes; he is the show’s most frequently appearing recurring character actor.

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James Michael Tyler Personal life

James Michael Tyler
James Michael Tyler and Barbara

In 1995, Tyler married Barbara Chadsey but in 2003 Tyler and Barbara divorced. He married Jennifer Carno in 2017.

James Michael Tyler Filmography


  • The Disturbance at Dinner as Wilson Pomade (1998)
  • Foreign Correspondents as Randy (1999)
  • Motel Blue as Oscar Bevins (1999)
  • Shaving Ryan’s Privates as Tom Spanks (2003)
  • Live With It as Andrew (2008)


  • Friends as Gunther (1994-2004)


  • Just Shoot Me! as a Doctor (2000)
  • Sabrina, the Teenage Witch as Ethan (2001)
  • Scrubs as Therapist (2005)
  • He appeared in the unaired pilot satire sitcom Nobody’s Watching, playing himself as a present from the studio executives on the set of Central Perk
  • He starred in the music video for Chicane’s dance track ‘Come Tomorrow’, playing the part of a postman, miming the lyrics throughout the video
  • He appeared as a judge on Iron Chef America – Morimoto/Flay VS. Sakai/Batali
  • He appeared on the UK BBC series and in the US Showtime series “Episodes” (S02E06) in the final scene. The storyline of the episode being that LeBlanc (as himself) is called to get a former cast member from Friends


James Michael Tyler has received the Birmingham Film Festival Award for ‘Best Actor Male’ for the short film ‘The Gesture and the Word’ in 2020.

Tribute from friends

After the news of his death broke, friends and colleagues of the actor have been pouring in their tribute to him.

Friends co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane paid tribute to the actor in a joint statement. The statement reads: “James was a genuinely kind, sweet man. When he started as an extra on Friends, his unique spirit caught our eye and we knew we had to make him a character. He made Gunther’s unrequited love incredibly relatable. Our heart goes out to his wife, Jennifer Carno.

Other friends of the actor who sent in their tribute include:


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