Actor and comedian Paul Reubens dies at age 70

Paul Reubens was best known as his alter ego, Pee-wee Herman

Actor and comedian Paul Reubens dies at age 70

Paul Reubens, the actor and comedian who created the iconic character Pee-wee Herman, died Sunday night after a private bout of cancer. He was 70.

“Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years,” wrote Reubens in a statement posted to Instagram after his death. “I have always felt a huge amount of love and respect from my friends, fans and supporters. I have loved you all so much and enjoyed making art for you.”

“Last night we said farewell to Paul Reubens, an iconic American actor, comedian, writer and producer whose beloved character Pee-wee Herman delighted generations of children and adults with his positivity, whimsy and belief in the importance of kindness,” wrote Reubens’ estate in the caption. “Paul bravely and privately fought cancer for years with his trademark tenacity and wit. A gifted and prolific talent, he will forever live in the comedy pantheon and in our hearts as a treasured friend and man of remarkable character and generosity of spirit.”

Paul Reubens was born on August 27, 1952, in Peekskill, New York. Best known as his alter ego, Pee-wee Herman, Paul Reubens was raised in Sarasota, Florida. His interest in entertainment stems from The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, which set up the big-top close to his childhood home. Reubens studied drama at the California Institute of the Arts and performed with the improv group The Groundlings during the 1970s. It was there that he developed the Pee-wee character, an innocent man-boy who enjoyed playing tricks on his friends. His signature gray suit, small red bow tie, slicked back hair and silly dance moves completed the caricature. In 1981, HBO aired one of Reubens’ live shows, and the Pee-wee phenomenon began. In 1985, Reubens built on the popularity of his Pee-wee character by releasing his first feature film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. The movie was directed by Tim Burton and was a huge hit at the box office. With his star on the rise, Reubens soon signed with CBS to develop the seminal Saturday morning children’s program Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which ran from 1986 to 1990. The show featured appearances by such future stars as Laurence Fishburne and Phil Hartman. Reubens’ career took a tremendous hit in 1991. He was arrested in Florida and charged with indecent exposure. The scandal soiled his squeaky-clean image, and CBS immediately dropped reruns of Pee-wee’s Playhouse from its lineup. Appearing as Pee-wee at the 1991 MTV Music Video Awards that same year, he asked the crowd, “Have you heard any good jokes lately?” He also tried to resuscitate his acting career, appearing in such films as 1992’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 1996’s Matilda, 1999’s Mystery Men and 2001’s Blow. On the small screen, Reubens landed a recurring role on the popular sitcom Murphy Brown. In 2010, he starred on Broadway in The Pee-wee Herman Show. In 2016, Reubens helped write and star in the Netflix original film Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, reprising his role as Pee-wee Herman.

Before his death, Reubens was developing two Pee-wee Herman projects, one a black comedy titled “The Pee-wee Herman Story” and the other a family adventure film called “Pee-wee’s Playhouse: The Movie.” He passed on Sunday, July 30th. RIP.

Original article by Ken Warren, 2017/18 for Paul Reubens birthday.

Watch Pee Wee Herman appears on the 1991 MTV Music Awards

Watch Pee-wee’s Playhouse opening sequence

Watch more 1980’s related videos


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