Paul Reubens, Actor Who Played Pee-Wee Herman Dead At 70

Actor Paul Reubens as “Pee-Wee Herman” poses in the pressroom during of Spike TV’s First Annual “Guys Choice” taped at Radford Studios on June 9, 2007 in Studio City, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
11:21 AM – Monday, July 31, 2023

Actor Paul Reubens, best known as the character Pee-wee Herman on children’s television programs in the 1980s, has died, his team said on Monday.


He was 70-years-old and had been diagnosed with cancer around six years earlier.

“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,” according to a statement on Facebook.

“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.”

Reubens started his career as an improv comedian and stage performer with the Los Angeles live comedy company “The Groundlings” in the 1970s.

In 1980, Reubens debuted The Pee-wee Herman Show, a theatrical performance based on a fictional character that he had been cultivating for years. His act went on for five sold-out months as Pee-wee became a cult figure.

Reubens also landed an HBO special due to the character’s popularity.

In interviews and public appearances, Reubens remained true to the role, typically never breaking character.

He collaborated with Tim Burton on Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, the character’s feature-length premiere in 1985, which was both critically and commercially successful. Three years later, Reubens returned for a follow-up movie called Big Top Pee-wee, which was directed by Randal Kleiser.

From 1986 through 1990, the character appeared on CBS’ Saturday morning show Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

He had appeared in a number of other films over his career, including Kinka Usher’s superhero comedy Mystery Men and Ted Demme’s historical crime thriller Blow.

Additionally, Reubens appeared in TV shows such as 30 Rock, The Blacklist, Pushing Daisies, and Reno 911!

The comedic legend co-wrote and performed in Netflix’s Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, a sequel to 1988’s Big Top, in 2016, which would be his final film performance before his death.

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