Entertainment ‘Friends’ Star James Michael Tyler Reveals Stage 4 Cancer Diagnosis, Why He Appeared Virtually for HBO Max Reunion
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NEW YORK (AP) — Toward the end of HBO Max's “Friends” reunion special, host James Corden asks the six actors to imagine what their characters' lives would be like today. Chandler and Monica would be married. So would Ross and Rachel. With kids, of course. Same with Phoebe. The only mystery was Joey, which actor Matt LeBlanc answered with a joke. “He probably opened up a sandwich shop in Venice Beach,” he said. That's when the disappointment ofChandler and Monica would be married. So would Ross and Rachel. With kids, of course. Same with Phoebe. The only mystery was Joey, which actor Matt LeBlanc answered with a joke.
Friends star James Michael Tylor revealed that he is undergoing chemotherapy treatment for prostate cancer.
The 59-year-old actor shared the news during a Monday appearance, where he explained that he was first diagnosed at 56, and has “been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years.”
“I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones,” Tyler told co-host Craig Melvin. “It’s stage 4, late-stage cancer, so eventually, it’s gonna probably get me.”
Tyler is known for playing Gunther, Rachel’s (Jennifer Aniston) sarcastic one-time boss and the manager of the Central Perk coffee house, in all 10 seasons of the NBC sitcom. He has also made guest appearances in Episodes, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Scrubs, and Just Shoot Me!
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The reunion 17 years in the making is here at last. From trailers and promotional images, it's clear Friends: The Reunion will satisfy fans' appetites for behind-the-scenes secrets, inside jokes, as well as watching the gang read through beloved moments as their characters.
Tyler’s prostate cancer was detected in September 2018 during a routine physical through a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. While he was initially treated through hormone therapy, which he said “worked amazingly for the first year,” the cancer mutated and spread to his spine during the pandemic, eventually leading to paraplegia.
“I missed going in for a test, which was not a good thing,” Tyler said.
Video: "Friends" Star James Michael Tyler Reveals Stage 4 Cancer Diagnosis (E! Online)
According to the actor, the producers have been aware of his diagnosis “for a long time,” while members, including David Schwimmer of the cast “at this point” know.
During his Today show appearance, Tyler also elaborated on why he appeared via Zoom instead of in-person for, which debuted on HBO Max in May. The actor shared that there were initial plans “to be on the stage, at least, with them, and be able to take part in all the festivities,” but that he opted to go virtual due to the extent of his condition.
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After months of waiting, fans saw the show's stars Jennifer Aniston , Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer and Matthew Perry , come together to be interviewed by James Corden and joined by a legion of stars to reflect on the iconic programme, which aired from 1994 to 2004. Despite critics' comments regarding James' 'banal and tiresome' lines of questioning, fans, some of whom suffered a delay due to the HBO Go app crashing minutes after the stream began, managed to overlook this element as they live tweeted feelings towards the show.
“It was bittersweet, honestly. I was very happy to be included,” Tyler said. “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, who told Today that he caught his diagnosis late, said that if he’d done anything differently, he “would have gone in earlier and, you know, would’ve been hopefully caught earlier.”
“Next time you go in for just a basic exam or your yearly checkup, please ask your doctor for a PSA test. It’s easily detectable,” he said. “If it spreads beyond the prostate to the bones, which is most prevalent in my form, it can be a lot more difficult to deal with.”
Tyler said that his diagnosis and ongoing treatment hasn’t been “an easy process,” and that he doesn’t “want people to have to go through what I’ve been going through.”
“My goal this past year was to see my 59th birthday,” the actor said. “I did that. My goal now is to help at least save one life.”
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