Friends star James Michael Tyler preferred to attend reunion virtually due to his cancer diagnosis


Friends star James Michael Tyler preferred to attend the reunion special virtually due to his cancer diagnosis: ‘I didn’t wanna bring a downer on it’

He played Gunther on the hit series and provided some of its driest and sharpest humor.

And James Michael Tyler revealed this week that it was his decision not to attend the recent Friends reunion special in person, but not due to covid concerns.

The actor, 59, revealed the sad news of his stage IV prostate cancer diagnosis on the Today Show on Monday, which was the primary reason he chose to dial in via Zoom for the HBO Max special.

Gunther himself: James Michael Tyler revealed this week that it was his decision not to attend the recent Friends reunion special in person, but not due to covid concerns

Highly-anticipated: A poster for the Friends: The Reunion streaming event featuring Matthew Perry, Matt Leblanc, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, and Lisa Kudrow

Highly-anticipated: A poster for the Friends: The Reunion streaming event featuring Matthew Perry, Matt Leblanc, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, and Lisa Kudrow

‘[The plan was] to be on the stage, at least, with them, and be able to take part in all the festivities,’ Tyler shared. 

But due to his battle with cancer, which he revealed has left him paralyzed from the waist down, that plan was unfortunately scrapped. 

‘It was my decision not to be a part of that physically and make an appearance on Zoom, basically, because I didn’t wanna bring a downer on it, you know?’ the actor said. 

‘I didn’t want to be like, “Oh, and by the way, Gunther has cancer.”‘ 

From back in the day: Tyler played Gunther on the hit series Friends and provided some of its driest and sharpest humor

From back in the day: Tyler played Gunther on the hit series Friends and provided some of its driest and sharpest humor

During the segment, James shared that he first became aware of his diagnosis in September 2018.

He added that the reunion, which took place with all six primary Friends cast members late last month, was for him ‘bittersweet, honestly. I was very happy to be included.’

Tyler also mentioned that the producers of the show have been aware of his diagnosis ‘for a long time,’ while the cast – Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt Le Blanc, David Schwimmer and Matthew Perry – know of his condition ‘at this point’. 

Seen on Today: The actor, now 59, revealed the sad news of his stage IV prostate cancer diagnosis on the Today Show on Monday

Seen on Today: The actor, now 59, revealed the sad news of his stage IV prostate cancer diagnosis on the Today Show on Monday

James was a beloved part of the extended Friends ensemble for the entire 10-year run of the series, appearing in 150 episodes.

His sardonic barista Gunther at the six friends’ preferred hangout of Central Perk cafe provided a much-needed foil to the happy-go-lucky main group.

Other special guests at the Friends: The Reunion special included Reese Witherspoon, Tom Selleck, Thomas Lennon, Christina Pickles, Lady Gaga and Elliott Gould.

James was a beloved part of the extended Friends ensemble for the entire run of the series: His sardonic barista Gunther provided a much-needed foil to the happy-go-lucky main group

James was a beloved part of the extended Friends ensemble for the entire run of the series: His sardonic barista Gunther provided a much-needed foil to the happy-go-lucky main group

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