Earlier this year, the Friends cast met at the Warner Bros. studio to shoot Friends: The Reunion. Sitting on the most famous couch in TV history, the six friends indulge in something special at the right times, ooh-ing and ahh-ing.
It was a nostalgic, if highly polished affair with a revolving door of former guest stars and famous ones Fans. But perhaps the most touching moment came when James Michael Tyler, best known for playing Gunther, the show’s snappy barista, joined the cast.
US actor James Michael Tyler, who mostly when Gunther played in Friends, died at the age of 59.
When he showed up over Zoom, it was clear that Tyler was not doing well. In 2018 he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which later spread to his bones.
« Honestly, it was the most memorable ten years of my life, » said the actor during the special.
« I should have couldn’t imagine a better experience. All of these guys have been fantastic and just fun to work with. It felt very, very special. «
Following Friends: The Reunion, Tyler appeared on the Today Show in June to discuss his prognosis.
» I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer that had spread to my bones, « said Tyler. “I’ve been dealing with this diagnosis for almost three years. It’s level 4 (now). Late-stage cancer. So at some point, you know, it will probably get me. ”
The actor died on Sunday morning at the age of 59 in his Los Angeles home. The news was recognized by industry figures including Friends co-star Jennifer Aniston.
As an integral part of the Friends phenomenon, Tyler made the most appearances outside of the six lead roles, starring in 185 episodes across all 10 seasons of the show, including the Finale.
He was the beating heart of the sitcom’s coffeeshop-cum hangout, Central Perk, handing out bitter coffee and commentary alike. Best remembered for his unrequited crush on Rachel Green (Aniston) and his devastating one-liners, Gunther’s first line of dialogue didn’t come until episode 33, and even then he had only one word to say. « Yes. »
But that word led to another, and then to another, with Tyler quickly turning Gunther into a fan favorite.
For a show so uniquely dedicated to six main characters, it’s proof for Tyler’s on-screen abilities that Gunther worked out his own rhythm and voice.
Known as the « Seventh Friend » Tyler (far left) made the most appearances outside of the six main characters, starring in 185 episodes in all of them ten seasons of the show, including the finale.
His quiet jokes remain a part of Friends folklore, and while the tributes flow, it seems only appropriate to relive Gunther’s most memorable lines.
You could yourself always relying on Gunther to say what everyone else was thinking, and he stepped on the plate in The One Where Monica and Richard Are Friends.
Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) dated Robert (Markus Flanagan), a sports fan, the short Loved shorts but hated underwear. Ashamed of Robert’s constant blinking, Phoebe encouraged Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Ross (David Schwimmer) to step in. But she shouldn’t have worried, because when Gunther has an eye full, Robert has an ear full.
Gunther was at his best when he scolded Rachel’s long line of admirers, and while his biting lines were reserved for Ross, there were many others who felt its sting.
In The One with All the Wedding Dresses, Rachel feels upset as Ross prepares to marry Emily (Helen Baxendale). On a whim, she proposes marriage to her constant friend Joshua (Tate Donovan), who she promptly refuses.
Usually a master of the inner monologue, Gunther breaks and yells « You idiot! » on Joshua’s face, much to Rachel’s surprise and delight.
Few sitcoms understood the power of cute pets as well as friends. The show never missed out on scene-robbing animals from the duck-and-chick duo to Marcel the Monkey.
But not all pets are created and in The One With The Ball Rachel spends $ 1,000 on a hideous sphinx cat because it reminds her of her late grandmother. When she gets home, it becomes clear that Mrs. Whiskerson is angry and attacks Rachel at every opportunity.
In The One with the Ball, Gunther buys Rachel’s cat just to show how much he loves her.
Out of serious regret from the pet, Rachel tries to sell the cat, but has difficulty finding a buyer. Eventually Gunther intervenes, hoping that his possessions will translate into frequent visits from Rachel. Instead, he is reluctantly left behind as the new owner of a hairless, angry cat. “So what is it? Some snake or something? ”Günther asks Ross.
The magic of Gunther was to achieve so much with so little. In The One with Chandler in a Box, after an argument, Joey goes to Central Perk in search of Chandler. In a panic, he approaches Gunther and asks if the barista saw Chandler.
« I thought you were Chandler? » Comes the perfectly timed answer, a snapshot of Gunther’s entire worldview. If your name is not Rachel, he’s not interested.
Finally, he points Joey in the direction of Chandler and gives one last poke: « But, um, one of you is over there. »
After a decade of longing according to Rachel from afar, it was only fair that Gunther could finally tell his truth in the finale. It also fits that Gunther defeats his longtime rival Ross, who is also hoping to declare his love for Rachel.
« Rachel, I know you’re leaving tonight, but I just have to tell you. I love you, ”says Gunther. « Well, I don’t know if that will change your plans at all, but I thought you should know. »
Gunther may not get his happy ending, but he does get an answer from Rachel who dies after her death James Michael Tyler feels particularly moving.
« Günter. Oh i love you too Probably not in the same way, but I do. And when I’m in a coffee shop, having coffee, or seeing a man whose hair is lighter than the sun, I’ll think of you. ”
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