Seven times Gunther proved he was the unofficial seventh Friend
R.I.P to Gunther - the king of the coffee shop ❤️
Actor James Michael Tyler, who rose to fame playing Gunther on Friends, has died aged 59 after developing pancreatic cancer during the pandemic. It was a cause he'd been outspoken about, encouraging men to get checked while he fought the condition.
Gunther was originally intended to be a peripheral character on the popular sitcom, buzzing around and occasionally serving coffee in the show's iconic Central Perk coffee shop. However he ended up becoming an essential comic interlude.
"When he started as an extra on Friends, his unique spirit caught our eye and we knew we had to make him a character," Friends producers Marta Kauffman and David Crane said in a joint statement.
To celebrate the actor's most famous role as Central Perk's resident manager, here are seven moments which prove he was clearly the seventh lead character in Friends - even though it was never official.
He tells Ross he has sex with donkeys
Gunther was always wary of Ross because of his on-again-off-again relationship with Rachel. (We should note, Gunther's borderline obsessive relationship with Rachel has since been criticised as 'creepy' by some viewers in more recent years.)
In one heated moment, Gunther calls Ross an "ezel" - which is Dutch for donkey - after Ross flips at him in Central Perk. Ross looks up the word and - proud of himself - discovers its meaning and throws the insult back. "Gunther you're an ezel," he says smugly.
But native Dutch speaker Gunther gets the last laugh when he claps back: “Jij hebt seks met ezels,” which means “You have sex with donkeys.”
Diving onto the sofa to hug Rachel
Rachel is so proud that she's completed a crossword, she stands up in Central Perk and asks for a hug. With none of her primary pals around to hug her, Gunther hurries from behind the cafe counter and leaps across the sofa in an attempt to hug her.
It's a brilliant piece of physical comedy - and one of Gunther's most memorable moments.
Dressing as 'loveable loser' Charlie Brown for Halloween
In one iconic episode, the Friends crew throw a Halloween party where Ross turns up as the Russian space satellite Sputnik. Sean Penn, who plays a character that Monica is dating at the time, cameos as the galaxy of stars.
Gunther, seen in one of his few appearances outside of the coffee shop, turns up dressed adorably as cartoon character Charlie Brown. It's presumably meant to be a self-referential moment for Gunther, as Charlie Brown was described in the cartoon as a "loveable loser."
Calling Joshua an 'idiot' for turning down Rachel's marriage proposal
— Gunther (@FunnGunther) March 18, 2013
Rachel is competing with her ex Ross and in a bid to get ahead, impulsively asks her newish boyfriend Joshua to marry her.
"What if we got married?!" she asks him in the coffee shop.
"So I'm thinking... No," he claps back, affronted by her request.
Gunther overhears from the sidelines - because of course he does - and bellows "you're an idiot!" in Joshua's direction.
(Interestingly, Tate Donovan and Jennifer Aniston dated for three years in real life until just before Tate took on the role or Rachel's short-lived love interest.)
'Oh oh, dark mother. Once again I suckle at your smoky teat.'
Gunther used to smoke but has quit. In an early episode, he tells Chandler to put out his cigarette in the coffee shop - but when Chandler asks Gunther to just let him finish that one cigarette, Gunther's inspired to take a drag too - and can't hide his adoration for nicotine.
"Oh oh, dark mother. Once again I suckle at your smoky teat," he declares, dragging deeply at the cig. (Chandler later gives up but has several similarly hilarious and emotional moments being reunited with cigarettes.)
When he finally declares his love for Rachel and she kinda says she loves him too
"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," Gunther reveals to Rachel in emotional scene featured in the series' final episode.
It had been 10 seasons of unrequited, undeclared love - and finally, audiences got the catharsis of Gunther admitting his true feelings - but what would Rachel say?
"Gunther. Oh, I love you too. Probably not in the same way, but I do," she says, adding: "And when I'm in a café, having coffee, or I see a man with hair brighter than the sun, I'll think of you."
It wasn't quite what he was after - but perhaps Gunther finally got closure or at least - looking at the show through modern eyes - awareness that he needed closure?
He represents the overworked hospitality industry by clapping back at Ross's suggestion he owns a Porche
In another sassy clapback moment aimed at Ross, Gunther responds to the idea that a pair of lost Porche keys might be his.
“Yes, that’s what I drive. I make four bucks an hour. I saved up for 350 years,” Gunther says dryly to Ross as he jangles the keys in his face.
RIP James Michael Tyler, an essential part of the Friends family - we raise our oversized coffee cups to you.