Friends star James Michael Tyler says he missed reunion so cancer diagnosis wouldn’t ‘bring a downer’ on it

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

Louis Chilton
Monday 21 June 2021 15:00
Comments
Friends Reunion: Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer reveal they almost had off-screen romance

Actor James Michael Tyler, best known for playing the role of Gunther on Friends, has explained his decision not to appear on the recent reunion special in person.

The actor revealed to Today that he was diagnosed with cancer back in 2018, and didn’t want his illness to “bring a downer” on the special.

Friends: The Reunion aired earlier this month on Sky in the UK, and HBO Max in the US.

All of the core cast of the hit sitcom returned for the non-scripted programme, alongside several of the show’s guest stars, creators, and celebrity fans.

Tyler did make a brief appearance on the special via Zoom, but did not feature alongside the cast in real life.

Speaking on Today, he said: “I wanted to be a part of that, and initially I was going to be on the stage, at least, with them, and be able to take part in all the festivities.

“It was bittersweet, honestly. I was very happy to be included. 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? ... I didn’t want to be like, ‘Oh, and by the way, Gunther has cancer.’”

Tyler is currently undergoing “aggressive” treatment for his illness, which began as prostate cancer but has since spread to his bones.

The actor appeared in 56 episodes of Friends, becoming a beloved minor character for many fans of the sitcom.

Friends: The Reunion can be watched on Sky Go and Now in the UK.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in