The Devastating Death Of Friends Star James Michael Tyler

Though viewers around the world know James Michael Tyler’s face, distinctive voice, and pitch-perfect sense of humor from “Friends,” he did many other things in his life. 

Born in Mississippi on May 28, 1962, Tyler was the youngest of his siblings, and sadly lost both his father and his mother before he was 12 years old (via IMDb). Following his mother’s death, Tyler moved to South Carolina and began living with his older sister. He took a liking to theatre while studying for a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology at Clemson University, began acting, and later enrolled in the University of Georgia for graduate school, receiving a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting. 

His passion for acting took him to the bright lights of Hollywood, where Tyler worked as an assistant editor on films and a production assistant on director Roland Joffé’s 1989 film “Fat Man and Little Boy.” In 1992, Tyler appeared as a bar patron in the short film “The Roommate.”

Two years later, Tyler was thrust into the limelight when he landed the role of Gunther, the icy-haired Central Perk barista and most ardent admirer of Rachel Greene (Jennifer Aniston), on “Friends.” He played a part — in both credited and uncredited appearances — in 150 episodes of the series from 1994 to 2004. Tyler maintained a deep, enduring love for “Friends” throughout the years, establishing a pop-up Central Perk in London in 2009 (via the Daily News) and appearing at another Central Perk replica, this time located in Lower Manhattan in New York City, in 2014 (via Time).

After “Friends” came to a close, Tyler went on to star in projects like “Scrubs,” “Nobody’s Watching,” “Live with It,” “Jason’s Big Problem,” “Keeping Up with the Downs,” “Episodes,” “Modern Music,” “Processing,” and “The Gesture and the Word.” 

Our thoughts are with Tyler’s loved ones during this difficult time.

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