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Paul Reubens, actor best known for playing Pee-wee Herman, dead at 70

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Paul Reubens, the actor best known for his character Pee-wee Herman, has died at 70, according to the Emmy winner’s Facebook page.

“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,” the statement on Monday, July 31, began.

“Paul bravely and privately fought cancer for years with his trademark tenacity and wit,” the tribute continued, remembering him as 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,” the statement continued.

Reubens’ most famous character began on the standup stage, which led to an adult-themed HBO special in 1981. The material was toned down and the character was brought to the big screen with director Tim Burton in the 1985 classic Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, which spawned a sequel, Big Top Pee-wee, in 1988. 

In the interim, Reubens’ creation starred on the small-screen in Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, an Emmy-winning children’s show that ran from 1986 to 1990.

However, Reubens’ arrest in 1991 for indecent exposure at a Florida adult movie theater led to a career downfall, with CBS cancelling reruns of the beloved show, which was supposed to run in syndication.

Over the years, Reubens appeared in many movies and TV shows, including 1992’s Batman Returns for Burton, Matilda, Mystery Men and recently, the TV series What We Do in the Shadows. He also lent his voice to A Nightmare Before Christmas. In 2016, Reubens revisited his beloved Pee-wee character for Netflix in Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.

 

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