James Michael Tyler: Fans remember Gunther’s best moments on Friends

James Michael Tyler: Fans remember Gunther’s best moments on Friends

James Michael Tyler who was best known for his role as coffee shop manager Gunther in the popular sitcom Friends has sadly died aged 59 from prostate cancer.

Back in June this year, Tyler revealed to NBC that had stage four prostate cancer which was diagnosed back in 2018.

In a statement, the actor’s manager said Tyler “passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles on Sunday morning”.

“The world knew him as Gunther (the seventh Friend)... but Michael’s loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, cancer-awareness advocate, and loving husband. If you met him once you made a friend for life.

“Wanting to help as many people as possible, he bravely shared his story and became a campaigner for those with a prostate to get a... blood test as early as 40-years-old.”

Famous for his bleach-blond locks, awkward demeanour and unrequited love for Rachel, Gunther became a fan favourite over the show’s ten seasons.

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Originally, Tyler was working as an actual barista when he was approached about being an extra on the show and as an extra on the first season, he was known as “Coffee Guy.”

But Tyler soon grabbed the attention of the show’s co-creator’s Marta Kauffman and David Crane, who reminisced about making him a permanent character in reaction to his passing.

“When he started as an extra on Friends, his unique spirit caught our eye and we knew we had to make him a character,” they said in a statement on Sunday. “He made Gunther’s unrequited love incredibly relatable.”

Here is a run-down of Gunther’s best moments in Friends.

Jumping at the chance (literally) to hug Rachel

After finally completely a crossword puzzle, Rachel doesn’t have anyone to hug to celebrate. Hearing this, Gunther then comes tearing from behind the counter sending customers flying on the floor but then trips and hilariously falls over himself.

Gunther offers his place to Rachel

As Rachel needs to move out of Monica and Chandler’s and to find a new place to live, Gunther quickly offers Rachel his apartment, but he clearly didn’t think his plan through as Rachel asks “Why? Where are you going?” and he amusingly responds: “I don’t know.”

“Put the mouse back in the house”

When Phoebe’s date, who is wearing loose shorts, ends up accidentally exposing himself as he sits back in his chair, nobody has the heart to inform him of this.

Enter Gunther who ends up telling Phoebe’s date in the funniest way to cover up.

“Hey buddy, this is a family place. Put the mouse back in the house,” he tells him with impeccable comedic timing.

Gunther’s reaction to Ross punching the lampost instead of Joey

We all know as since Ross was Rachel’s main love interest in the show, that Gunther wasn’t a huge fan of him.

His dislike for Ross is clear when he couldn’t hide the smile on his face when Ross accidentally breaks his thumb when he goes to punch Joey, but Joey ends up ducking and hence Ross connects with the lampost instead.

Fans loved seeing the deadpan barista’s mischievous at Ross’ misfortune.

Gunther tells Rachel about Ross sleeping with the copy girl

As he is in love with Rachel, Gunther proved that he was willing to jeopardise her relationship with Ross by informing her that he slept with a girl from the copying place.

When Ross rushes to the barista asking him if he said anything to Rachel about his dalliance, Gunther replied: “I’m sorry, was I not supposed to?”

Gunther insulting Ross in Dutch

We learned that Gunther is fluent in Dutch after he insults Ross - who is learning the language -by calling him an “ezel” (donkey). Ross then looks up the word “ezel”in the dictionary and retorts to Gunther “You’re an ‘ezel!”.

But Gunther gets one up on Ross by saying “Jij hebt seks met ezels” (which means “You have sex with donkeys”), leaving Ross baffled, not knowing what the sentence meant.

Gunther’s disbelief at Ross having Rachel’s baby

When Rachel became pregnant with Ross’ baby many people we shocked as the pair were not back together. And it’s fair to say this news surprised Gunther who informed Ross that he couldn’t believe it.

Purchasing Rachel’s hairless cat

Love makes you do crazy things, and for Gunther that meant purchasing Rachel’s Sphynx cat Mrs. Whiskerson who she sells after the cat keeps hissing and scratching her.

In the hopes of getting closer to Rachel, Gunther buys the cat off of her and hilariously asks Ross: “What is this, some kind of snake?”

Confusing Joey and Chandler

Other than Rachel, it’s clear that the barista doesn’t care to learn the names of other friends as he manages to confuse Joey and Chandler.

When Joey comes into the cafe looking for Chandler and asks if Gunther has seen him, Gunther responds: “I thought you were Chandler.”

In true Gunther style, he ends with the zinging one-liner: “But um, one of you is over there.”

Finally confessing his love for Rachel

In the final episode of the show, Gunther finally plucks up the courage to confess his true feelings for Rachel before she leaves for Paris.

Funnily, he is able to take the plunge and swoops in just before Ross was about to do the same thing.

“Rachel, I know you’re leaving tonight but I just have to tell you... I love you,” he says. “I don’t know if that changes your plans at all but I thought you should know.”

“Gunther! I love you too - probably not in the same way - but I do. And when I’m in a cafe, having coffee or I see a man with hair bright than the sun I’ll think of you,” Rachel replies.

Jennifer Aniston who played Rachel shared this clip on her Instagram in tribute and wrote: “Friends would not have been the same without you. Thank you for the laughter you brought to the show and to all of our lives. You will be so missed #JamesMichaelTyler

Courteney Cox who played Monica, also paid tribute. “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,” she wrote.

“Rest In peace, James.”

Matt LeBlanc who played Joey also shared a photo of him and Tyler in reaction to the news and wrote: “We had a lot of laughs buddy,” LeBlanc posted. “You will be missed. RIP my friend.”

Lisa Kudrow who played Phoebe also posted paid homage to Tyler and wrote in a post: “James Michael Tyler, we will miss you. Thank you for being there for us all.”

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