7 of Gunther's most memorable 'Friends' moments in memory of James Michael Tyler

The actor, who played the sitcom's loveable coffee shop owner, died from stage 4 prostate cancer on Sunday

The Friends gang may have been made up of six core members, but there were plenty of other characters who made the show what it was.

Gunther, the awkward-yet-loveable owner of Central Perk coffee shop, played by actor James Michael Tyler, was one of those characters.

In honour of Tyler, who died on Sunday from stage 4 prostate cancer at the age of 59, we take a look back at some of his character’s top moments on the show.

His famous one-liners

He may not have said a lot on the show, but whatever Gunther did say always made an impact. In fact, the character’s signature one-liners were often pivotal to the scene, from the time Joey (Matt LeBlanc) asked him if some Porsche keys belonged to him, to which he replied, “Yeah, that’s what I drive, I make $4 an hour, I’d have to have saved up for 450 years”, to the time he called Ross (David Schwimmer) an “ezel” – a donkey, in Dutch.

His unrequited love for Rachel

Gunther’s defining storyline throughout all 10 seasons of Friends was his obsession with Rachel (Jennifer Aniston). From her early days working as a waitress in Central Perk to her many break-ups played out from the coffee house sofa, Gunther was always in the background, ready to be her knight in shining armour, yet he never quite had the courage.

His secret soap star past

When Joey learns his character on the soap opera Days of Our Lives, Dr Drake Ramoray, is about to be killed off by falling down an elevator shaft, Gunther surprises everyone by revealing that he too was a soap opera star.

"That sucks. I was buried in an avalanche," Gunther reveals to Joey. "I used to be Bryce on All My Children."

When he couldn’t tell Joey and Chandler apart

Despite the gang being Gunther’s most regular customers, it took until season 4 for him to be able to tell Joey and Chandler (Matthew Perry) apart. When Joey runs into Central Perk in a hurry looking for Chandler, a confused Gunther replies, “I thought you were Chandler”.

He then follows up by saying: “But um, one of you is over there,” gesturing to where the real Chandler is sat.

When he was confused about Rachel’s hairless cat

When Rachel carries out her childhood dream to buy a hairless, purebred Sphynx cat, she soon realises it’s not the pet she hoped it would be, even declaring it “pure evil”. However, she soon finds someone willing to take it off her hands in Gunther, who pays a whopping $1,500 for Mrs Whiskerson, in the hopes that Rachel might come to visit.

After popping round to Rachel’s apartment to pick up the cat’s red velvet pillow, he turns to Ross and asks: “So what is this, some kind of snake or something?”

When Phoebe kisses him so she can catch his cold

Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) uses Central Perk as her stage, and when her singing voice drops a few octaves thanks to a cold, she likes how it makes her sound, so when her cold clears and her voice goes back to normal, she tries to catch another cold. When Gunther happens to sneeze near her, he is given the shock of his life when she shouts “Gunther, kiss me”, before grabbing his face and pulling him in. Needless to say, unlucky-in-love Gunther is more than a little flustered.

Finally telling Rachel how he felt

And Friends couldn’t complete its run without seeing Gunther finally tell Rachel how he feels, and that’s exactly what he does in the final episode, confessing his feelings before Rachel plans to move to Paris. In the process, he unwittingly steals Ross’s thunder, who had planned to do the same thing.

"I know you're leaving tonight, but I just have to tell you. I love you. I ... I don't know if that changes your plans at all? But I thought you should know,” he says.

To which an emotional Rachel replies, "Gunther. Oh, I love you too. Probably not in the same way, but I do. And when I'm in a cafe, having coffee, or I see a man with hair brighter than the sun, I'll think of you."

Updated: October 25th 2021, 10:31 AM