James Michael Tyler Wiki, Height, Age, Death, Wife, Family, Biography & More

James Michael Tyler was an American actor. He was famous for his role as ‘Gunther’ in the superhit American television sitcom ‘Friends’ (1994-2004).


James Michael Tyler was born on Monday, May 28, 1962 (age 59 years; at the time of death), in Greenwood, Mississippi, US. His zodiac sign is Gemini. He was named after his uncle. His hometown is in Winona, Mississippi. After his parents’ death, at age 12, Tyler moved to Anderson, South Carolina, with his sister. He did his schooling at T.L. Hanna High School, Anderson. He graduated from Anderson University (then Anderson College) with a two-year degree in 1982. In 1984, he gained his degree in geology from Clemson University, South Carolina. [1] At Clemson, he was a part of a college theatre group called The Clemson Players. In 1987, he gained an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree in Acting from the University of Georgia. [2]

Physical Appearance

Height (approx.): 5′ 11″

Eye Color: Blue

Hair Color: Brown


Parents & Siblings

He was the son of Dewitt Eugene Tyler and Mary Sue Pullen. His father was an Air Force pilot in World War II, and after returning from military service, he was elected as sheriff of Anderson County. At the age of 10, on April 13, 1973, he lost his father, who died due to injuries in an auto accident. His father was working as a sales representative for Illinois Molding Company before his death. Before that, he was associated for 18 years with the J. A. Olson Company, having worked as a sales manager there.

James Michael Tyler’s father

At the age of 11, on November 28, 1973, he lost his mother to breast cancer. Both his parents belonged to Methodist church. [3] He had three siblings, and he was the youngest of them. He had a brother named Captain John Dewitt Tyler Tommy Tyler, who worked at Columbus Air Force Base and died in 2019. He had two sisters named Linda Clark and Brenda Keenan.


In 1995, Tyler married Barbara Chadsey. In 2014, the couple filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. Later, he married to Jennifer Carno.

James Michael Tyler with Jennifer Carno


In 1988, he went to Los Angeles to begin his career in the film industry. He became a production assistant in the American film ‘Fat Man and Little Boy’ (1989). He also worked as an assistant film editor before getting acting roles.


In 1992, he made his debut with the American short film ‘The Roommate’ as ‘Bar Patron.’

He made his feature film debut with the American film ‘Motel Blue’ (1997) as ‘Oscar Bevins.’

James Michael Tyler in Motel Blue (1997)

He later appeared in the American feature films The Disturbance at Dinner (1998), Foreign Correspondents (1999), and Jason’s Big Problem (2009). He also appeared in the American short films Live with It (2008), Processing (2020), and The Gesture and The Word (2020).


He made his television debut with the American series ‘Just Shoot Me!’ (2000) as a doctor.

He then appeared in the television series Sabrina the Teenage Witch (2001). He rose to prominence with the American series ‘Friends’ (1994-2004) in his recurring role of ‘Gunther,’ a barista at Central Perk known for his secret profound love for Rachel Green (played by Jennifer Aniston). In several interviews, he confessed that he got the role of ‘Gunther’ because he had worked as a barista before, and show makers asked him if he would be interested in being an extra for the show. He took the role due to financial issues, but his role got prominence with time. As the show progressed, he became a notable character in the series. 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 Michael Tyler in Friends (1994)

He then appeared in the series Scrubs (2005) and Episodes (2012). In 2010, he appeared as ‘Chase’ in the television short ‘Keeping Up with the Downs.’

In 2013, he appeared in his first main role in the American TV series ‘Modern Music’ as ‘Chad Levitz.’

In 2021, he made a guest appearance in ‘Friends: The Reunion,’ a TV special in which the main cast of Friends revisited the sets of the original show, meet with guests, did table reads, and re-enactments of Friends episodes.

Other Works

In the 2005 video game ‘Friends: The One with All the Trivia,’ he voiced many characters.

In 2007, he appeared in the music video of ‘Come Tommorow’ by the British musician Chicane.


He was a founding member, along with Keith King, of the collaborative improvisational band Red Felt Pig.


  • Band: Three Mile Pilot
  • Actress(es): Connie Stevens, Sylvia Sidney
  • Sport: Baseball
  • Baseball Team: Chicago Cubs
  • Video Game: Rocket League


On October 24, 2021, he died peacefully at his home in Los Angeles. In 2018, Tyler was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer that later spread to his bones. [4]


  • In his leisure time, he likes to travel, play video games, record music, and do photography.
  • Before moving to Los Angeles, Tyler used to sell cars in Olympia, Washington. After coming to Hollywood, he worked in both the service and entertainment industries to earn his daily bread. He used to be a bar-back at the Hollywood Palace, sold keyboards at the Guitar Center, and was a barista at the Bourgeois Pig.
  • Tyler is famously remembered for his blonde hair in the show ‘Friends,’ which, according to him, was actually accidental. The day before the Friends’ audition, one of Tyler’s acquaintances, who was studying to become a hairdresser, experimented on his hair. In the auditions, the show makers liked it so much they decided to keep the look for ‘Gunther.’
  • On Friends’ 15th anniversary in 2009, Tyler launched the temporary Central Perk replica in London, where fans could take tickets to receive free coffee and see memorabilia from the show. The replica was opened for two weeks from September to October. On Friends’ 20th anniversary in 2014, Tyler appeared at a Central Perk replica in SoHo, Manhattan.
  • He is an active philanthropist and supports the Lili Claire Foundation (which provides programs and services to children suffering from neurogenic birth conditions) and AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA; a non-profit HIV service organization in the United States).
  • Tyler received the Birmingham Film Festival – Award for Best Actor Male for the short film ‘The Gesture and The Word’ in 2020.
  • In 2021, Tyler revealed that he had metastatic prostate cancer. Since being diagnosed with cancer in 2018, he went for hormone therapy, which worked well for a year, but eventually, it spread to his bones and spine, leading to paraplegia or paralysis of the lower body. 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.”

  • Tyler prefers to be called by his middle name Michael.
  • Tyler is fond of animals and has a pet dog and pet cat.

    James Tyler talking about his pet dog in an Instagram post

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