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Remembering Pee-wee Herman: Actor Paul Reubens Passes Away at Age 70

In Memoriam: Paul Reubens, the actor and comedian known for his iconic portrayal of Pee-wee Herman in TV and films for decades, passed away at the age of 70 due to cancer, as announced on his official Facebook page.

The statement read, “Last night, we bid farewell to the esteemed American actor, comedian, writer, and producer Paul Reubens, whose beloved character Pee-wee Herman delighted children and adults alike with his positivity, silliness, and kindness.” About Reubens,

In their heartfelt statement, it was expressed, “Throughout the years, Paul valiantly battled cancer with remarkable strength and humor, away from the public eye.” “An exceptionally skilled and adaptable artist, he will forever be cherished for his unforgettable and lovable roles, a cherished companion, and an individual who exemplified kindness and empathy in our memories.”

Reubens posted a statement on his Instagram page with the announcement of his passing, writing, “For the past six years, I have been battling in private, please accept my apology for not making it public.” “I have always felt an overwhelming amount of love and respect from my friends, fans, and supporters. I have loved all of you and enjoyed bringing joy through my art.” The statement was signed “Paul Reubens.”

Reubens was born on August 27, 1952, in Peekskill, New York, to parents Judy Rosen and Milton Rubenfeld. During his childhood, Reubens enjoyed extensive periods in Sarasota, Florida, engaging in performances organized by the illustrious Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

After high school, he enrolled in Boston University to pursue acting. After a year in Boston, Reubens moved to California to further his acting dreams and got admitted to the California Institute of the Arts as a student.

His acting career took off in the mid-1970s with small roles, including a guest appearance on the TV show “The Gong Show” in 1976 and being part of the outrageous comedy ensemble The Groundlings.

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Birth of Pee-wee Herman:

Remembering Pee-wee Herman Actor Paul Reubens Passes Away at Age 70

Reubens’ trademark character, Pee-wee Herman, originated in 1977 during an improv stage act with The Groundlings. The birth of a child-like character came from the idea of someone aspiring to be a comedian but having trouble remembering punchlines. Herman’s trademark rapid-fire giggle became the catchphrase, along with his signature comeback, “I know you are, but what am I?”

Reubens appeared as Pee-wee in presentations such as “Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie” in 1980, where he played a hotel desk clerk. Reubens also brought Pee-wee to the stage alongside “The Pee-wee Herman Show” at the Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles, which sold out for five months and was broadcast by HBO in 1981.

By 1984, Reubens’ star was shining brightly. He sold out New York City’s Carnegie Hall with his act and made guest appearances on TV talk shows such as “Late Night with David Letterman” and “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” garnering more attention.

Pee-wee’s Playhouse and Beyond:

With the success of “The Pee-wee Herman Show,” Reubens was approached by Warner Bros. to work on a feature film about Pee-wee Herman. Reubens was inspired by the bikes ridden by many people on the Warner Bros. lot and created a story about Pee-wee’s stolen bicycle.

“Peewee’s Big Adventure,” directed by Tim Burton and co-written by Reubens, including Phil Hartman and Michael Varhol, received mixed reviews but remains a cult favorite to this day. It was followed by a big-screen sequel “Big Top Pee-wee” in 1988.

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After “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” concluded in 1991, Reubens’ star took a hit when he was arrested for alleged indecent exposure in an adult film theater in Sarasota, Florida. He ultimately pled no contest to the related charges and was sentenced to community service, but the extensive publicity tarnished Reubens’ reputation and led him to stay out of the public eye and away from Pee-wee for some time. Reubens appeared in other roles in movies and TV shows, notably in the film version of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and as a recurring character on the sitcom “Murphy Brown,” for which he received a Primetime Emmy nomination.

Later Life and Legacy:

Remembering Pee-wee Herman Actor Paul Reubens Passes Away at Age 70

Despite the controversies, Reubens continued to work, appearing in several television shows such as “The Blacklist,” “Gotham,” and “What We Do in the Shadows,” and recently reprising the role of Pee-wee in the 2016 Netflix film “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.” Reubens was also a talented voice actor.

Upon the news of his passing, Natasha Lyonne, who acted alongside Reubens in “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” shared a heartfelt tribute on social media. “I love you so much, Paul,” Lyonne said. “One in a million. In all these years, my career and your lifelong friendship, thank you for teaching us what true mirth is.”

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