James Michael Tyler landed the role of Gunther in Friends by being the only extra on set capable of working a cappuccino machine. Quickly his undeniable acting talent propelled him to a speaking role in over 150 episodes and a tier where many argued for his place as the honorary seventh friend.
Throughout the entire run of the series, Gunther served as a beacon of positivity and at times an audience surrogate, constantly reacting to the six central characters from a place of truth. Sadly, the beloved James Michael Tyler passed away on October 24, 2021, after a battle with stage 4 prostate cancer.
Today, we look back at the countless times Gunther brought joy into our homes and reminded us all the importance of “living the good life.”
1. GUNTHER FINDS BLISS BY DABBLING IN AN UNHEALTHY HABIT
Too much of anything can be a bad thing, which is why moderation is key. In the eighteenth episode of Season 3, Gunther attempts to institute a ‘No Smoking’ policy at Central Perk. Chandler openly challenges the policy by lighting up a cigarette, to which Gunther attempts to find common ground by sharing a drag with Chandler rather than scolding him, after delivering the legendary line, “Oh, dark mother. Once again I suckle at your smoky teat.”
2. GUNTHER UTILISES RESPECTFUL HONESTY TO ADDRESS AN EMBARRASSING SITUATION
In the thirteenth episode of Season 3, Phoebe, Ross and Chandler struggle with how to tell Phoebe’s new boyfriend that he keeps ‘falling out of his gym shorts.’ Sometimes honestly is the best policy. Gunther quickly solves the gang’s episode-long dilemma by prompting Robert to “put the mouse back in the house.”
3. GUNTHER HELPS PHOEBE ADVANCE HER BUDDING MUSIC CAREER
In the fifth episode of Season 4, Phoebe discovers a promising sexy new vocal range after catching a cold. Riddled with a cold of his own after Phoebe overcomes hers, Gunther kisses Phoebe to give her that sick, sexy voice back. Always the gentleman, Gunther even takes the time to apologise to Rachel for his well-intentioned transgression.
4. GUNTHER ADOPTS A TROUBLESOME RESCUE CAT
Gunther’s endless well of kindness isn’t only reserved for humans. In the twenty-first episode of Season 5, Gunther takes an extremely aggressive cat off of Rachel’s hands and even provides a stipend of $1,500 to her.
5. GUNTHER SAVES ROSS’ BACHELOR PARTY
In the second episode of Season 4, conflict emerges as Ross struggles to choose a best man between Chandler and Joey. Defusing the situation, Gunther temporarily agrees to be the best man, resulting in a resolution of the entire situation and eventual dubbing of Chandler and Joey as dual best men as Gunther is once again relegated to the sidelines.
6. GUNTHER SHARES THE LOVE
In the Season 10 series finale, Gunther makes sure to let a departing Rachel know how special she really is. In a tear-jerking monologue, Gunther tells Rachel “I know you’re leaving tonight, but I just have to tell you. I love you.”
Returning the favour, Jennifer Aniston shared the heartwarming scene on Twitter in response to James Michael Tyler’s untimely passing.