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James Michael Tyler Net Worth: How Much Did He Earn On Friends?

James Michael Tyler Net Worth: How Much Did He Earn On Friends?

Gunther must have been the highest paid barista of all time

Laura Sanders

Laura Sanders

Following the tragic news that James Michael Tyler - aka Gunther - has died, fans want to know how much he made from his iconic role on Friends.

We last saw James make an appearance at Friends: The Reunion in May and he looked unrecognisable to fans. All of the cast members looked and sounded a little different (it has been 26 years after all), but James had by far changed the most since the 90s sitcom finished.

Gone was his bleached blonde hair, which Rachel once described as "brighter than the sun" and instead, the former Central Perk manager was sporting a darker beard and moustache.

James Michael Tyler now (Credit:Instagram/slate_michael)
James Michael Tyler now (Credit:Instagram/slate_michael)

When appearing at the emotional reunion via video conference, the shy, nervous Gunther we all knew and loved on the show was much bubblier in real life.

And that got us wondering what happened to James Michael Tyler after Friends. We've been doing some digging.

Where is James Michael Tyler now?

Tyler was living in Hollywood and was still an actor up until his death in October 2021. He'd not long played a starring role in The Gesture And The Word, a short film which won awards at the Birmingham Film Festival.

The former Friends barista also starred in the indie film Processing and in 2013, he was in the TV series Modern Music as Chad Levitz.

Gunther in Friends (Credit:Instagram/friends)
Gunther in Friends (Credit:Instagram/friends)

He was also filmed in an unaired pilot satire comedy called Nobody's Watching, in which he played himself on the set of Central Perk.

James Michael Tyler illness: What cancer did James Michael Tyler have?

Sadly, James Michael Tyler revealed in June 2021 that he had been battling prostate cancer since 2018.

He said: "I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones. I've been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years... it's stage 4. Late stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it's gonna probably get me."

He added: ""I was 56 years old at the time, and they screen for PSA, which is prostate-specific antigen. That came back at an extraordinarily high number.

"So I knew immediately when I went online and I saw the results of my blood test and blood work that there was obviously something quite wrong there. Nearly immediately, my doctor called me and said, 'Hey, I need you to come in tomorrow because I suspect that you may have quite a serious problem with your prostate.'"

James left behind thousands of adoring fans, beloved co-stars and his wife, Jennifer Carno.

How much did Gunther make on Friends?

The much-loved, socially awkward barista appeared in 148 of the 236 Friends episodes in total and was paid $5,000 per episode in the first season - not bad for somebody who was originally cast as an extra!

In season two, Gunther's salary was raised to $10,000 per episode, meaning he earned $160,000 from the 16 episodes he appeared in. He's got to be the highest paid barista in the world.

For seasons three and four, his salary doubled again and he earned $20,000 per episode and $30,000 per episode in seasons five and six.

For the remainder of the series, James earned $40,000 for each episode he was in.

James Michael Tyler net worth

According to Celebrity Net Worth, James Michael Tyler's net worth in 2021 was $4 million. He made a total of $2.48 million from his role as Gunther.

Gunther is remembered for lots of funny moments on the show. One particular memory is when he insulted Ross in Dutch in 'The one with the Stain', where he calls Ross an "ezel" (meaning "donkey" or "ass" in Dutch).

Ross responded with "You're an ezel!" and Gunther came back with "Jij hebt seks met ezels" (You have sex with donkeys).

Does the Friends cast still get paid?

If you ever wondered why we haven't seen much of Lisa, Matt, Matthew, Courtney, David and Jen after Friends, it's because, well, they don't necessarily need to do much work.

Our bingeing on reruns earns each cast member around $20 million a year - which is just two per cent of the syndication revenue from Friends. That's according to MarketPlace research. James was also believed to still earn income from syndication, but we're not sure how much.


Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey were each paid $22,500 per episode in the first season and their salaries increased with the popularity of the show. By series nine, Jen and the gang managed to negotiate a $1 million salary per episode - MIND BLOWN.

Of course, they all went on to star in other TV shows and movies - I suppose you've got to find something to do with yourself if you've become a millionaire before you hit 30?

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/friends/slate_michael

Topics: TV & Film, Friends