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James Michael Tyler Biography, Wiki, Age, Career, Death, Cause of Death | Who was James Michael Tyler? Bio, Wiki

Who was James Michael Tyler?

James Michael Tyler (May 28, 1962 – October 24, 2021) was an American actor best known for his role as Gunther on the NBC sitcom Friends.

James Michael Tyler dies aged 59

James Michael Tyler played the role of Gunther in 'Friends'
James Michael Tyler played the role of Gunther in ‘Friends’

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.

“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,” Benson wrote in a tribute. “Michael loved live music, cheering on his Clemson Tigers, and would often find himself in fun and unplanned adventures.”

Tyler had appeared briefly in 1990s series like Just Shoot Me! and Sabrina the Teenage Witch before being cast as a background character in the second episode of Friends in 1994. Over the show’s multi-year run, he became the most frequently recurring guest star on the series playing Gunther, the Central Perk barista with an unrequited affection for Rachel (Jennifer Aniston).

Tyler was initially cast while working as a barista at the Bourgeois Pig coffee shop in Los Angeles. He didn’t have a line of dialogue on Friends until he had made 33 appearances on the show, according to the 2019 book, Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era, by Saul Austerlitz. Over the 236 episodes, Tyler appeared in 150 of them.

Warner Bros. Television, which produced the hit series, mourned the death of Tyler, “a beloved actor and integral part of our ‘Friends’ family.”

James Michael Tyler Biography, Wiki

James Michael Tyler was born in Mississippi. The youngest of five children, he was raised by a retired United States Air Force captain and a homemaker. At age 11, he moved to Anderson, South Carolina to live with his sister.

A Tigers fan, he enrolled at Clemson University and majored in Geology. While getting his B.S., Tyler joined the Clemson Players and found a love of theatre and started acting. He went on to receive an MFA in Acting from the University of Georgia.

After a brief stint selling cars in Olympia, WA, he moved to Los Angeles, CA. Upon arriving in Hollywood, he worked in both the service and entertainment industries. He was a bar-back at the Palace, sold keyboards at Guitar Center, and was a barista at the Bourgeois Pig. He also worked his way up as an extra and production assistant. Ultimately, Tyler gained acclaim playing the role of Gunther in “Friends”.

When not acting, Tyler liked to play Rocket League on PS4 and record music in his home studio.

He was a founding member, along with Keith King, of the collaborative improvisational band “Red Felt Pig”.

Tyler preferred to be called by his middle name, Michael.

He lived in Hollywood with his wife Jenn and their leopard gecko, Rodni.

James Michael Tyler Biography
James Michael Tyler
BornMay 28, 1962
Greenwood, Mississippi, U.S.
DiedOctober 24, 2021 (aged 59)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationActor
Years active1994–2021
Notable credit(s)Gunther in Friends (1994–2004)
Spouse(s)Barbara Chadsey​​(m. 1995, divorced)​Jennifer Carno ​(m. 2017

James Michael Tyler Family

He is the son of Dewitt Eugene Tyler and Mary Sue Pullen. His father was an Air Force pilot in World War II, and after returning from military service, he was elected as sheriff of Anderson County. At the age of 10, on April 13, 1973, he lost his father, who died due to injuries in an auto accident. His father was working as a sales representative for Illinois Molding Company before his death. Before that, he was associated for 18 years with the J. A. Olson Company, having worked as a sales manager there.

At the age of 11, on November 28, 1973, he lost his mother to breast cancer. Both his parents belonged to Methodist church. He has three siblings, and he is the youngest of them. He had a brother named Captain John Dewitt Tyler Tommy Tyler, who worked at Columbus Air Force Base and died in 2019. He has two sisters named Linda Clark and Brenda Keenan.

James Michael Tyler Wife

In 1995, Tyler married Barbara Chadsey. In 2014, the couple filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. He is, as of 2021, married to Jennifer Carno.

James Michael Tyler with his wife Jennifer Carno
James Michael Tyler with his wife Jennifer Carno

James Michael Tyler Career

In 1988, he went to Los Angeles to begin his career in the film industry. He became a production assistant in the American film ‘Fat Man and Little Boy’ (1989). He also worked as an assistant film editor before getting acting roles.

In 1992, he made his debut with the American short film ‘The Roommate’ as ‘Bar Patron.’

He made his feature film debut with the American film ‘Motel Blue’ (1997) as ‘Oscar Bevins.’

He later appeared in the American feature films The Disturbance at Dinner (1998), Foreign Correspondents (1999), and Jason’s Big Problem (2009). He also appeared in the American short films Live with It (2008), Processing (2020), and The Gesture and The Word (2020).

He made his television debut with the American series ‘Just Shoot Me!’ (2000) as a doctor.

He then appeared in the television series Sabrina the Teenage Witch (2001). He rose to prominence with the American series ‘Friends’ (1994-2004) in his recurring role of ‘Gunther,’ a barista at Central Perk known for his secret profound love for Rachel Green (played by Jennifer Aniston).

In several interviews, he confessed that he got the role of ‘Gunther’ because he had worked as a barista before, and show makers asked him if he would be interested in being an extra for the show. He took the role due to financial issues, but his role got prominence with time. As the show progressed, he became a notable character in the series.

He then appeared in the series Scrubs (2005) and Episodes (2012). In 2010, he appeared as ‘Chase’ in the television short ‘Keeping Up with the Downs.’

In 2013, he appeared in his first main role in the American TV series ‘Modern Music’ as ‘Chad Levitz.’

In 2021, he made a guest appearance in ‘Friends: The Reunion,’ a TV special in which the main cast of Friends revisited the sets of the original show, meet with guests, did table reads, and re-enactments of Friends episodes.

James Michael Tyler as “Gunther”

From 1994 till 2004 James Michael Tyler played Gunther on the hit NBC sitcom Friends. Gunther was a coffee shop worker at Central Perk who had a crush on Rachel Greene, played by Jennifer Aniston.

Tyler appeared in 93 of the 236 episodes of Friends. This makes him the actor who has appeared most often in the series, except for the six main cast members.

James Michael Tyler as Gunther in 'Friends'
James Michael Tyler as Gunther in ‘Friends’

Tyler was an extra who was cast as Gunther because he was the only extra who knew how to operate an espresso machine. (Tyler used to work in several coffee shops before acting.) This casting behind the coffee bar led to the semi-recurring speaking part of Gunther.

Tyler’s signature peroxide blonde hair was actually accidental. The day before the Friends audition, one of Tyler’s acquaintances, who studied to become a hairdresser, experimented on his hair. When Tyler showed up for the audition, the producer liked it so much they decided to keep it, and he had to dye his hair on a regular basis.

Like his character Gunther on Friends, Tyler is a cigarette smoker.

James Michael Tyler Death

Tyler was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018, but did not publicly disclose his illness until June 2021, shortly after the release of Friends: The Reunion. He died from the disease at his home in Los Angeles on October 24, 2021, at age 59.

James Michael Tyler FAQ’s

Who was James Michael Tyler?

James Michael Tyler (May 28, 1962 – October 24, 2021) was an American actor best known for his role as Gunther on the NBC sitcom Friends.

How did James Michael Tyler die?

Tyler was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018, but did not publicly disclose his illness until June 2021, shortly after the release of Friends: The Reunion. He died from the disease at his home in Los Angeles on October 24, 2021, at age 59.

Who is James’s wife?

In 1995, Tyler married Barbara Chadsey. In 2014, the couple filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. He is, as of 2021, married to Jennifer Carno.

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