James Michael Tyler, Gunther the Central Perk Barista on ‘Friends,’ Dies at 59 – The Hollywood Reporter
James Michael Tyler, who portrayed the uncared for Central Perk barista Gunther on all 10 seasons of Pals, has died after a battle with prostate most cancers. He was 59.
Tyler died Sunday morning at his residence in Los Angeles, confirmed his longtime buddy and supervisor Toni Benson, who described him as somebody who liked stay music and the Clemson Tigers. “In case you met him when you made a buddy for all times,” Benson wrote in a tribute emailed to The Hollywood Reporter.
Tyler introduced on the At the moment present in June that he had stage 4 prostate most cancers that had unfold to his bones; he stated he was first identified in September 2018 throughout a routine bodily.
“My objective this previous 12 months was to see my 59th birthday. I did that,” he stated. “My objective now [by revealed his illness and advocating for checkups] is to at the least save one life.”
He shared his story to encourage these with a prostate to get a primary PSA blood check as early as 40 years previous.
Tyler was working as a barista on the Bourgeois Pig espresso store on Franklin Avenue close to Hollywood when he was requested to face within the background and work the levers of the Central Perk espresso machine on the NBC sitcom.
It took him two seasons and 33 appearances earlier than he received his first line of dialogue and for his character to get a reputation, in line with Saul Austerlitz’s 2019 e-book, Era Pals: An Inside Have a look at the Present That Outlined a Tv Period.
Tyler would present up on 150 of the 236 episodes of the present, from the second installment that first aired in September 1994 to “The Final One” on Could 6, 2004. No different actor recurred extra typically.
Gunther, a peroxide blonde, as soon as was a cleaning soap actor on All My Youngsters, however his character was killed off in an avalanche, resulting in his gig at Central Perk. He pines for Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) for years however doesn’t reveal his true emotions to her till the sequence finale; off to Paris, she tells him she’ll consider him every time she sees somebody “with hair brighter than the solar.”
In his e-book, Austerlitz famous that Gunther “served as an ongoing working joke for the present, the outsider whose perpetually foiled makes an attempt at penetrating the interior circle emphasised the charmed standing of the sextet.
“He was background coloration for Pals, current on the characters’ events and gatherings, lurking over their shoulders as they sipped espresso at Central Perk. He was there to be ignored and neglected, forgotten and brought as a right.”
Tyler regrettably was on the skin once more when he reconnected — however solely through Zoom — with Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc on the Pals HBO Max reunion particular that premiered in Could 2021.
He stated it was his resolution to not seem in individual. “I didn’t wanna carry a downer on it, ?” he stated.
The youngest of 5 youngsters, Tyler was born on Could 28, 1962, in Winona, Mississippi. After his father, a retired Air Power captain, died when he was 10 and his mom, a homemaker, died when he was 11, he went to stay along with his sister in Anderson, South Carolina.
He acted in scholar performs at Clemson College, the place he graduated with a level in geology in 1984, then obtained a grasp’s in nice arts from the College of Georgia three years later.
He moved to Los Angeles in 1988, bought keyboards at a Guitar Middle and labored as a manufacturing assistant on the Paul Newman-starring Fats Man and Little Boy (1989) and on the Bourgeois Pig earlier than touchdown on Pals.
Later, he appeared on such exhibits as Simply Shoot Me!, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Scrubs, Fashionable Music and, as himself in 2012, on LeBlanc’s Episodes.
In 2009 and 2014, he celebrated Pals anniversaries by standing behind the counter of Central Perk replicas.
Whereas present process therapy, Tyler continued to carry out and starred in two brief movies — The Gesture and the Phrase and Processing — which earned him accolades at numerous movie festivals. Earlier this 12 months, his spoken-word efficiency of Stephen Kalinich’s poem “If You Knew” was tailored into a brief video to lift consciousness for the Prostate Most cancers Basis.
Survivors embody his second spouse, script coordinator Jennifer Carno.