Actor Paul Reubens, best known for his role as Pee-wee Herman, has died following a battle with cancer. He was 70.
In a statement posted to his Facebook page, his team revealed that Paul Reubens died Sunday night after a six-year cancer battle. He was remembered as “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,” the post read.
The social media post included a statement written by Reubens prior to his death in which he apologized for not going public with his health issues.
Paul Reubens rose to fame in the early 1980’s when he first introduced his character Pee-wee Herman on stage.
The Pee-wee Herman Show ran for for five months with all of the shows selling out. HBO produced a special about Reubens’ show, introducing the actor to the world.
Reubens found himself an instant cult favorite and embraced his Pee-wee character, doing all of his public appearances as the character. In 1985, he starred in the feature film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. The movie was a raving success and a sequel, Big Top Pee-wee, followed in 1988.
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From 1986 to 1990, Reubens starred in Pee-wee’s Playhouse, a Saturday-morning children’s program. After a decade-long hiatus, and some run-ins with the law, Reubens returned to the big and small screens. He appeared in the 2001 movie “Blow” starring Penelope Cruz and Johnny Depp. And he made appearances in “30 Rock,” “The Blacklist” and “Gotham.”
Tributes poured in for Paul Reubens who will be remembered for his comedic genius.
Fellow comedians and actors such as Steve Martin, Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brien remembered the late actor with social media posts.
— Steve Martin (@UnrealBluegrass) July 31, 2023
Paul Reubens was like no one else – a brilliant and original comedian who made kids and their parents laugh at the same time. He never forgot a birthday and shared his genuine delight for silliness with everyone he met. My family and I will miss him.
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) July 31, 2023
I am devastated to hear of the passing of my friend, Paul Reubens!! He kept canceling lunch and offers to get together, but I had no idea he was suffering so much. My love and white light to him and his family #rippaulreubens #rippeewee #rippeeweeherman 💔💔💔💔💔 https://t.co/nByxkBPFOy
— Morgan Fairchild (@morgfair) July 31, 2023
No tweet can capture the magic, generosity, artistry, and devout silliness of Paul Reubens. Everyone I know received countless nonsensical memes from Paul on their birthday, and I mean EVERYONE. His surreal comedy and unrelenting kindness were a gift to us all. Damn, this hurts.
— Conan O’Brien (@ConanOBrien) July 31, 2023
See one of Paul Reubens’ last interviews in the video below.