James Michael Tyler

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James Michael Tyler
Born (1962-05-28) May 28, 1962 (age 59)
Years active1994–present
Notable credit(s)
Gunther in Friends (1994–2004)
Spouse(s)Jennifer Carno (married 2017–present)
Barbara Chadsey
(m. 1995, divorced)

James Michael Tyler (born May 28, 1962) is an American actor best known for his role as Gunther on the NBC sitcom Friends.[1]

Early life[edit]

James Michael Tyler was born the youngest of five children on May 28, 1962 in Greenwood, Mississippi. He was named after his uncle. Tyler's hometown was Winona, Mississippi. When he was 10 years old his father died, and when he was 11 years old, his mother died. At age 12, Tyler moved to Anderson, South Carolina to live with his sister. He graduated from Anderson College (now Anderson University) with a two-year degree in 1982 and Clemson University with a degree in geology in 1984. During his time at Clemson, he was a member of a student theatre group, the Clemson Players. This experience sparked his interest in becoming an actor. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Georgia in 1987.

In 1988, he moved to Los Angeles and became a production assistant for Fat Man and Little Boy and an assistant film editor. He supports the Lili Claire Foundation and AIDS Project L.A charities. Tyler currently lives in Hollywood.


From 1994 to 2004, James Michael Tyler played Gunther on the sitcom Friends. Gunther was a coffee shop worker at Central Perk who had unrequited love for Rachel Green, played by Jennifer Aniston. This led to a ten-year career with appearances in 148 of Friends' 236 episodes; he is the show's most-frequently-appearing recurring character actor.

In honor of Friends' 15th anniversary in 2009, Tyler officially opened the temporary Central Perk pop up replica in London. It was open for two weeks from September to October and fans could apply for tickets to receive a free coffee and see memorabilia from the show.[2] He appeared in the unaired pilot satire sitcom Nobody's Watching, playing himself on the set of Central Perk.

In honour of Friends' 20th anniversary in 2014, Tyler made appearances at a Central Perk replica in SoHo.[3]

Tyler appeared in the BBC/Showtime sitcom Episodes (Series 2, Episode 6) as himself playing an ice hockey coach, when Matt LeBlanc tries unsuccessfully to get the other main stars from Friends to appear in the promotional video for the fictional television show Pucks.

Personal life[edit]

In 1995, Tyler married Barbara Chadsey. The couple separated in 2003, and in 2014, he filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.[4] He has since remarried to Jennifer Carno in 2017. [5] In 2021, he revealed that he had metastatic prostate cancer.[6]



  • The Disturbance at Dinner as Wilson Pomade (1998)
  • Foreign Correspondents as Randy (1999)
  • Motel Blue as Oscar Bevins (1999)
  • Jason's Big Problem as Blaine (2010)


Year Title Role Notes
1994–2004 Friends Gunther Recurring role, 148 episodes
2000 Just Shoot Me! Doctor Episode: "Donnie Returns"
2001 Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Ethan Episode: "My Best Shot"
2005 Scrubs Therapist Episode: "My Faith in Humanity"
2012 Iron Chef America Morimoto/Flay VS. Sakai/Batali
2012 Episodes Himself Episode Six, Season Two
2013 Modern Music Chad Levitz Main role
2021 Friends: The Reunion Himself HBO Max Special

Music video[edit]

’If You Knew’ Spoken Word Recording[edit]

In July 2021, producers Al Gomes and Connie Watrous of Big Noise, along with two-time Emmy Award nominee Tim Labonte and Grammy Award winner Alan Boyd, conceptualized and created a short film for Tyler’s spoken word performance entitled ‘If You Knew.’[7]

Tyler’s recording had been featured on a 2016 tribute album to The Beach Boys’ lyricist Stephen Kalinich called ‘Be Still’ that Gomes, Watrous, and Boyd had also produced. The collection was placed by The Recording Academy on the Official Ballot for the 59th Annual Grammy Awards for Best Spoken Word Album. Tyler also composed the music for the recording.[8] [9]

The new video for ‘If You Knew’ was produced to honor Tyler and also create a fundraiser for the organization that is working closely with him, the Prostate Cancer Foundation. 100% of the streaming proceeds of the video, and Tyler’s original recording, is being donated to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.[10]


  1. ^ "James Michael Tyler". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. 2015. Archived from the original on 2014-03-18.
  2. ^ Thorley, Chantelle (September 15, 2009). "London to celebrate 15 years of Friends with Central Perk pop-up". Event. Archived from the original on April 10, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2009.
  3. ^ Locker, Melissa (September 16, 2014). "Central Perk From Friends Is Now a Real Place, and Gunther Is There". Time. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  4. ^ "Former 'Friends' actor files for divorce". San Francisco Chronicle. March 6, 2014. Archived from the original on October 22, 2017. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
  5. ^ "James Michael Tyler on Instagram: "My lovely wife ... Jenn". Instagram. September 5, 2019. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  6. ^ "'Friends' actor James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther, shares prostate cancer diagnosis". NBC News. 2021-06-21. Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  7. ^ "James Michael Tyler - If You Knew : YouTube". 16 July 2021.
  8. ^ "Be Still : The Works of Stephen J. Kalinich : Spotify". 12 February 2021.
  9. ^ "Be Still : The Works of Stephen J. Kalinich : Apple Music". 12 February 2021.
  10. ^ "James Michael Tyler and Prostate Cancer Foundation". 16 July 2021.

External links[edit]