Posted: Monday, July 31, 2023. 4:02 pm CST.
Photo Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images
By Celeste Chang: Actor Paul Reubens, who starred in the 1980s as children’s TV star Pee-wee Herman, has died at age 70 after years of fighting cancer.
According to a statement posted to his Facebook from his team, “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.”
Neither Reubens or his team had disclosed that he was fighting cancer for so long. The death announcement included a statement from Reubens explaining, “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.”
He starred in the 1985 film Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and in the TV series Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which ran from 1986 to 1991 on CBS-TV. The programme, which he created, co-wrote and co-directed earned 22 Emmy Awards. In 1991, however, his rise to fame crashed after he pleaded no contest to indecent exposure at an adult movie theater in Sarasota, Florida. Not long after, Reubens was sentenced to three years probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor obscenity charge involving photographs of minors engaged in sexual conduct were seized from him.
Reubens nonetheless continued his acting career, being applauded for playing a drug-dealing hairdresser in the 2001 movie “Blow,” opposite Penelope Cruz and Johnny Depp. Later television appearances included “30 Rock,” “The Blacklist” and “Gotham.”
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