Actor James Michael Tyler Dies at Age 59

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Tyler
Courtesy of Doc Searls (Flickr CC0)

Actor James Michael Tyler, known for playing Gunther on”Friends” has passed away at the age of 59. According to a statement made by his manager, he peacefully passed away in his Los Angeles home on the morning of Oct. 24, 2021. He battled stage 4 prostate cancer for three years.

The actor was born on May 28, 2021, in Winona, Mississippi. He was the youngest of five children. His father, Dewitt Eugene Tyler, was a retired Air Force Captin and his mother, Mary Sue Pullen, was a homemaker.

When he was 11 years old, his parents passed away. His father died from an automobile accident; seven months later, his mother passed away from breast cancer. Afterwhich, he moved to Anderson, South Carolina to live with his sister, Linda.

Being a huge Tiger fan, he enrolled at Clemson University where he majored in Geology. While he was getting his bachelor’s degree in science he joined the Clemson Players. This is when Tyler discovered a love for theater and began acting.

Tyler
Courtesy of @Independent (Twitter)

Tyler then enrolled in acting classes at the University of Georgia where he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree. He then decided to move to Los Angeles. For a brief moment in time, he sold cars in Olympia, Washington.

He then began working in both the service and entertainment industry in Hollywood. Tyler worked as a barista at the Bourgeois Pig, sold keyboards at Guitar Center, and was a bar-back at the Palace.

Then he worked his way to being an extra in shows and a production assistant. Finally, he scored his big role as Gunther on NBC’s TV show “Friends.” Due to Tyler’s coffee shop experience, they had originally asked him to play an extra on the show. He was the only one who knew how to properly work the cappuccino machine.

Tyler can also be seen in several other big shows like “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” “Scrubs,” and “Just Shoot Me!”

He was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018. For three years, he kept his ailment private. He announced his cancer to the public earlier this year; which really shocked his fans since he said nothing during the “Friends” reunion special.

He is survived by “the love of his life” his wife Jennifer Carno, family, and friends. May he rest in peace.

Written by Sheena Robertson

Sources:

TMZ: James Michael Tyler, Gunther from ‘Friends,’ Dead at 59 from Cancer

IMDb: James Michael Tyler; by JMT

BBC: James Michael Tyler: Friends’ actor dies aged 59

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Doc Searls’s Flickr – Creative Commons License

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