The hilarious actor Paul Reubens, best known for playing Pee-wee Herman, passed away at the age of 70.
A statement from Reubens published posthumously on his Instagram reads: “The actor passed away after a battle with cancer that he kept secret from the public.”
“Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years,” Reubens wrote. “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,” representatives of Reubens wrote 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.”
Reubens, who was born on August 27, 1952, started out as an improv comedian and performer with The Groundlings in Los Angeles. After being turned down by Saturday Night Live, he created the now-iconic Pee-wee Herman for a theatrical production that proved popular in Los Angeles.
HBO recorded and aired The Pee-wee Herman Show, and Reubens started appearing as the persona on chat shows. Tim Burton’s 1985 feature picture Pee-wee’s Big Adventure was made in response to the rising popularity.
For the children’s Saturday morning program Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which aired on CBS for five seasons, Reubens reprised the role. In 1988, he also put out the follow-up movie Big Top Pee-wee.
Reubens took a break from playing Pee-wee Herman, and a 1991 indecent exposure arrest harmed his career. Nevertheless, he carried on acting in movies like Mystery Men and Blow, as well as on TV shows like 30 Rock, Reno 911!, and Everyone Loves Raymond. He was nominated for an Emmy for his appearance in Murphy Brown as a guest star.
Reubens made a long-awaited comeback as Pee-wee Herman in a resurrected stage production in 2010, which had its LA debut before moving to Broadway. It was an HBO special that aired and was nominated for an Emmy. In 2016, Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, the third Pee-wee movie, made its Netflix debut.
Rest in peace to the incredible Paul Reubens, who made us laugh so much over the years as the iconic Pee-wee Herman 💔❤️
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