A Tribute to James Michael Tyler

Photo from hollywoodreporter.com

On Oct. 24, 2021, the world lost one of the most recognizable and prominent supporting characters and actors, James Michael Tyler, AKA Gunther. In 2018, Tyler was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. Unfortunately, James Michael Tyler died on Oct. 24 at the age of 59. He died peacefully in his home that morning. Tyler was an actor that appeared in many shows, but he is most famous for playing Gunther on the popular show “Friends.” 

Many celebrities around the world have mourned the loss of Tyler. However, the majority of those messages came from his “Friends” co-stars. Here is what they had to say:

Courteney Cox

Courteney Cox commented on Tyler’s on-set presence. “The size of gratitude you brought into the room and showed every day on set is the size of the gratitude I hold for having known you,” Cox wrote.

Photo posted by @Courteneycox on Instagram
Lisa Kudrow

Lisa Kudrow reacted to the actor’s death by giving a bittersweet statement including the show tune to the theme song. “Thank you for being there for us all,” Kudrow said.

Matt LeBlanc

Matt LeBlanc paid tribute to the actor on Instagram with a picture of his character, Joey, interacting with Tyler’s character, Gunther, in the show. His bittersweet caption read, “We had a lot of laughs buddy…You will be missed. RIP my friend.”

Photo posted by @Mleblanc on Instagram
David Schwimmer

David Schwimmer also paid tribute to Tyler by thanking him for all of his hard work on the show. “For playing such a wonderful, unforgettable role…for being such a big hearted gentleman and all around mensch off screen…You will be missed, buddy,” Schwimmer said. 

Jennifer Aniston

Finally, Jennifer Aniston led a heartfelt tribute to Tyler on Instagram with clips of Rachel’s and Gunther’s final scenes from the show with a bittersweet caption. “Friends would not have been the same without you. Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and all of our lives. You will be so missed.”

Photo of video posted by @Jenniferaniston on Instagram
Notable Moments

VALLEY will now be paying its own tribute to Tyler by breaking down the top five most enjoyable moments from Gunther on the show “Friends,” celebrating one of the most notable characters on the show.

5. Gunther Adopts Rachel’s Cat

In this Season Five episode, Rachel Green adopted an expensive cat as a pet. As the day went on, she realized the cat was not as affectionate as she had hoped, so she tried to sell it. Gunther eventually adopted the cat, much to Rachel’s delight.

Video posted by Gregor Mišič on YouTube
4. Gunther Loves Rachel

During the series, Gunther had a big crush on Rachel. The birth of this running gag started in season three when it was revealed through an inner monologue that Gunther had feelings for Rachel. These feelings would persist over the next seven seasons and become one of the most popular running gags of the show.

Video posted by Khalid Al on YouTube
3. Gunther the Soap Star

At this point of the series, Joey had been killed off from his show as his character fell down an elevator shaft to his death. Disappointed by the writers’ decision, Joey stumbled into the coffee shop and had a conversation with Gunther. In this conversation, the audience learned a fact from Gunther’s past: He was a past soap opera star on the show, “All My Children.”

Video posted by Ferio Renaldo on YouTube
2. Gunther “Drops” a Cup

In another act of showing his feelings for Rachel, Gunther showed the audience how far his feelings could go when it came to other men talking or flirting with Rachel. In this scene, with Rachel being single towards the end of Season Three, Gunther saw the opportunity to officially ask Rachel out on a date. Unfortunately for Gunther, Mark showed up and asked Rachel out before he could. He then went to the backroom to release his rage in what sounded like several broken “cups.” 

Video posted by FanTVs on YouTube
1. Gunther Confesses His Love for Rachel

Finally, in one of the last moments of the series, the showrunners gave the audience something they had been waiting for — Gunther finally confessed his feelings for Rachel. In the last season, Rachel was saying goodbye to all of her friends as she was leaving for France for a new job. Gunther took the opportunity to confess his feelings to Rachel, as he would never see her again. While she did not reciprocate his feelings, she gave him a sweet, genuine response.

Video posted by Gladys Sarominez on YouTube

James Michael Tyler, Gunther, the unofficial seventh friend, will be missed. 


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