James Michael Tyler, the actor known widely for his recurring role as Gunther on Friends, has died. He was 59. Tyler died Sunday at home in Los Angeles from prostate cancer, said his manager, Toni Benson. Tyler was first diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2018.
He is survived by his wife, Jennifer Carno.
“The world knew him as Gunther (the seventh ‘Friend’), from the hit series Friends, but Michael’s loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, cancer-awareness advocate, and loving husband,” representative Toni Benson said in a statement to US media.
His “Friends” character appeared in some 150 episodes across all 10 seasons of the beloved 1990s sitcom, sarcastically managing Central Perk — the cafe where the other characters hung out — and pining after Rachel, played by Jennifer Aniston.
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“Michael loved live music, cheering on his Clemson Tigers and would often find himself in fun and unplanned adventures. If you met him once, you made a friend for life,” Benson said.
Beyond Friends, Tyler’s acting credits stretch back to 1992, including series like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Scrubs and “Modern Music.” While undergoing treatment, he continued to perform, starring in two short films — The Gesture and the Word and Processing – and earning best-actor awards at various domestic and international film festivals.
This year, Tyler’s spoken word performance of Stephan Kalinich’s poem If You Knew was adapted into a short video to help raise awareness for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
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