James Michael Tyler is an American actor who is known for portraying ‘Gunther’ in the superhit American television sitcom ‘Friends’ (1994-2004).
James Michael Tyler was born on Monday, May 28, 1962 (age 59 years; as of 2021), in Greenwood, Mississippi, US. James Michael was named after his uncle. He was brought up in Winona, Mississippi. After Tyles lost both his parents at age 12, Tyler shifted with his sister to Anderson, South Carolina. He completed his high school education at T.L. Hanna High School, Anderson. In 1982, he graduated with a two-year degree from Anderson University (then Anderson College). In 1984, he attained a degree in geology at Clemson University. James Michael Tyler – Instagram At Clemson University, he was a member of a theatre group called The Clemson Players. In 1987, he attained an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree in Acting from the University of Georgia. MovieWeb
Height (approx.): 5′ 11″
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Blue
Parents & Siblings
His father, Dewitt Eugene Tyler, was an Air Force pilot in World War II, and after returning from military service, he was elected as the sheriff of Anderson County. His father worked with the J. A. Olson Company as a sales manager for eighteen years and then worked as a sales representative for Illinois Molding Company. On April 13, 1973, his father died due to injuries in an auto accident; James was ten years old at that time.
His mother’s name is Mary Sue Pullen. His mother died due to breast cancer on November 28, 1973; James was eleven at that time. Both his parents followed Methodism. Find a Grave James is the youngest of four children of his parents. His brother, Captain John Dewitt Tyler Tommy Tyler, who worked at Columbus Air Force Base, died in 2019. He has two sisters named Linda Clark and Brenda Keenan.
From 1995 to 2014, Tyler was married to Barbara Chadsey. The couple filed for a divorce due to irreconcilable differences. As of 2021, he is married to Jennifer Carno.
In 1988, James Michael Tyler went to Los Angeles to make his career in the entertainment industry. Before working as an actor, he worked as an assistant film editor. He also worked as a production assistant in the American film ‘Fat Man and Little Boy’ (1989).
In 1992, he made his film debut with the American short ‘The Roommate’ in which he played ‘Bar Patron.’
He made his feature film debut with the American film ‘Motel Blue’ (1997), portraying ‘Oscar Bevins.’
James made appearances in the American feature films The Disturbance at Dinner (1998), Foreign Correspondents (1999), and Jason’s Big Problem (2009). He also made appearances in the American short films Live with It (2008), Processing (2020), and The Gesture and The Word (2020).
In 2000, he made his television debut with the American series ‘Just Shoot Me!’ in which he played a doctor.
He then acted in the television series ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ in 2001. He hit the limelight with the American television sitcom ‘Friends’ (1994-2004) in which he played the recurring character ‘Gunther,’ a barista at Central Perk who was secretly in love with Rachel Green (played by Jennifer Aniston). In several interviews, he revealed that he was cast as ‘Gunther’ because of his prior job as a barista at a club. The makers of the show cast him as an extra. He accepted the role due to financial issues. With time, his character gained popularity and love from the audience, which added prominence to his character in the latter half of the show. Talking about his selection for the role in an interview, he said,
I was actually working in L.A. as a barista at the Bourgeois Pig. He (assistant director of Friends) knew I was working there, and that there was the coffee shop set, Central Perk, so he called me and asked if I would like to come in, because they had an espresso machine on the set. Of course, I never had to make any real espressos in those 10 years, because it’s so loud, but I did have experience before that.”
James then acted in the American TV series Scrubs (2005) and Episodes (2012). In 2010, he was seen as ‘Chase’ in the television short ‘Keeping Up with the Downs.’
In 2013, he played his first main role as ‘Chad Levitz’ in the American TV series ‘Modern Music.’
In 2021, he appeared as a guest in the show ‘Friends: The Reunion,’ a TV special showing the main cast of Friends revisiting the sets of the original show, meeting with guests, doing table reads, and re-enacting Friends’ episodes.
In 2005, he voiced many characters in the video game ‘Friends: The One with All the Trivia.’
In 2007, he was featured in the music video of ‘Come Tommorow’ by the British musician Chicane.
He has founded the collaborative improvisational band Red Felt Pig, along with Keith King.
- Actress(es): Connie Stevens, Sylvia Sidney
- Band: Three Mile Pilot
- Video Game: Rocket League
- Sport: Baseball
- Baseball Team: Chicago Cubs
- James likes to travel, play video games, record music, and do photography in his spare time.
- Tyler loves animals and owns a pet dog and pet cat.
- In an interview, he confessed that he likes being called by his middle name, Michael.
- Before starting his career in acting, he used to sell cars in Olympia, Washington, US. After he moved to Hollywood, he worked in the service and entertainment industries simultaneously to earn a living. In Hollywood, he used to work as bar-back at the Hollywood Palace, a keyboard seller at the Guitar Center, and a barista at the Bourgeois Pig.
- Tyler’s blond hair in Friends for which he is famously remembered was actually accidental. The hairstyle was experimented on him the day before the Friends’ audition by one of his acquaintances, who was studying to become a hairdresser. In the auditions, the makers of the show liked his hair a lot and decided to keep the look for Gunther’s character throughout the show.
- In 2009, on Friends’ 15th anniversary, Tyler established a temporary Central Perk replica in London, where fans took tickets to receive free coffee and see memorabilia from the show. The replica was opened from September to October for two weeks. In 2014, on Friends’ 20th anniversary, Tyler was seen at a Central Perk replica in SoHo, Manhattan.
- He is a philanthropist known for supporting the Lili Claire Foundation, which provides programs and services to children suffering from neurogenic birth conditions. He also supports AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), which is one of the largest non-profit HIV service organizations in the United States.
- In 2020, Tyler won the Birmingham Film Festival Award for Best Actor Male for his performance in the short film ‘The Gesture and The Word.’
- In 2018, Tyler was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer. He went for hormone therapy that worked out well for a year. Eventually, cancer spread to his bones and spine, leading to paraplegia or paralysis of the lower body. In 2021, he made his condition public. Talking about it in an interview, he said,
I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones. I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years. … It’s stage 4 (now). Late-stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.”