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

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

James Michael Tyler, who played the deadpan, smitten barista Gunther on the TV show “Friends,” died on Sunday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 59.

His manager, Toni Benson, said the cause was prostate cancer, which was diagnosed in September 2018. After his diagnosis, Mr. Tyler shared his story to encourage others to get screened for prostate cancer as early as 40.

“Friends” helped launch the careers of its star-studded cast, which included Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer. It debuted on NBC in the fall of 1994, ran for a decade, and typically had around 25 million to 30 million viewers each week.

Though Mr. Tyler was not a main character, he was widely considered to be “the seventh friend” and appeared in 150 episodes. He played the part of Gunther, a barista at Central Perk, the friends’ hangout, who had a deep crush on Ms. Aniston’s character, Rachel, who also worked at the coffee shop.


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