“Friends” star James Michael Tyler— who famously played Gunther — says keeping silent about his stage 4 cancer diagnosis during the reunion show was the right thing to do for the show’s fans and his costars.
James explains he chose to join the HBO Max special by Zoom, instead of sitting on the couch with the rest of the cast, “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.’”
The beloved actor also revealed Tuesday on “Today” that his prostate cancer — diagnosed back in September 2018 — has, unfortunately, spread to his bones and left him paralyzed from the waist down.
James says the producers of the show have known about his diagnosis for a long time — but it sounds like the cast didn’t know during the taping, but said they know now.
When asked what he would have done differently … James says he would have listened to his wife and gone in earlier for a medical checkup, and maybe it could have been caught sooner.
James choked back tears … imploring viewers to get a basic exam and ask for a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test. He says when caught early, it’s 99 percent treatable. He shared the same message with the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
James, of course, had a memorable run on the show — he appeared in 150 episodes as the super sprung yet witty barista at Central Perk.