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Paul Reubens Dies At Age 70

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Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman in Netflix’s ‘Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.’ Photo: Glen Wilson/Netflix.

Paul Reubens, who cemented himself as one of the most memorable entertainers for more than one generation who grew up on his work, died Sunday night. He was 70 and had been dealing with a cancer diagnosis privately for several years.

Early Career and Pee-wee Origins

Paul Reubens at the SXSW premiere of Netflix's 'Pee-wee's Big Holiday.'

Paul Reubens at the SXSW premiere of Netflix’s ‘Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.’ Photo: Alli Harvey/Netflix.

Reubens was born in New York in 1952 and raised in Florida. He created Pee-wee (named for a brand of harmonica he had when he was a child) while with the Los Angeles comedy troupe The Groundlings in 1978, then took the character to the stage after failing to land a spot on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 1980. His performance was captured for an HBO special in 1981.

Reubens showed up in the Cheech & Chong films ‘Next Movie’ (1980) and ‘Nice Dreams’ (1981) and made the first of his many bizarre appearances on ‘Late Night With David Letterman‘ — always in character and keeping his real identity a secret — in 1982.

He starred as the bow tie-wearing Pee-wee during a tour of the States, including a stop at Carnegie Hall in 1984, and then in Warner Bros’ ‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure’ (1985), directed by Tim Burton, followed by the sequel, Randal Kleiser’s ‘Big Top Pee-wee’ in 1988.

Reubens really came into his own on CBS Saturday morning children’s program ‘Pee-wee’s Playhouse,’ with 45 episodes running for five seasons from 1986-91. The eye-popping, candy-colored series won 22 Emmy Awards.

Related Article: Paul Reubens on Bringing Back ‘Pee-wee’ and How the Iconic Character Came to Be

Scandal

Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman in Netflix's 'Pee-wee's Big Holiday.'

Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman in Netflix’s ‘Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.’ Photo: Glen Wilson/Netflix.

Reubens’ image as a beloved childhood hero was tarnished when, in 1991, he was arrested for indecent exposure at an adult movie theater in Sarasota, Florida. At the center of a national sex scandal, Reubens backed away from Pee-wee and began doing press as himself.

He wouldn’t again reprise the iconic role until 2010, when he revived ‘The Pee-wee Herman Show’ on Broadway and made several other appearances, on ‘WWE Raw’ and in a couple of digital sketches for Funny or Die. In 2016, Reubens co-wrote and starred in Netflix’s ‘Pee-wee’s Big Holiday,’ a sequel to ‘Big Top,’ which would serve as Reubens’ final film role before his death.

Other Movies

Reubens’ cinematic resume included the likes of the animated/live-action ‘Smurfs’ movies, where he voiced Jokey Smurf. He also appeared in ‘The Tripper’, ‘Mystery Men’, ‘Doctor Doolittle’, ‘1996’s ‘Matilda’, ‘Serial Mom’, as the voice of Lock in ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, ‘The Blues Brothers’ and ‘Batman Returns’.

Batman Returns

In Memoriam

Paul Reubens at the SXSW premiere of Netflix's 'Pee-wee's Big Holiday.'

Paul Reubens at the SXSW premiere of Netflix’s ‘Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.’ Photo: Alli Harvey/Netflix.

Reubens’ Instagram account posted a statement on his death after his passing:

“Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years. 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.”

The post also included this from his estate:

“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. 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 as Pee-wee Herman in Netflix's 'Pee-wee's Big Holiday.'

Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman in Netflix’s ‘Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.’ Photo: Glen Wilson/Netflix.

Paul Reubens Movies and Specials:

Buy Paul Reubens Movies On Amazon



Content Source: www.moviefone.com

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