Pee-Wee Herman Star Paul Reubens Has Died

Pee-Wee Herman Dead: Paul Reubens has sadly died aged 70.
Credit: Alamy

Pee-wee Herman star Paul Reubens has died. 

The iconic fictional character has been played by Reubens ever since he came up with the persona in 1977 – which started off as a stage act before he got his own HBO series in 1981.

Arguably his most famous outing as Pee-wee Herman came in the 1985 film Pee-wee’s Big Adventure – which grossed an impressive $40 million at the box office against a budget of $7 million.

Sadly, Reubens’ family have confirmed that he has passed away aged 70.

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In a post shared on Reubens’ Instagram on July 31, it was revealed that he has secretly been battling cancer for a number of years.

The statement reads: “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 asked that any expressions of sympathy be made in his honour of his late parents, Judy and Milton Rubenfeld, to Stand Up to Cancer or organisations involved in Dementia and Alzheimer’s care, support and research.”


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A post shared by Pee-wee Herman (@peeweeherman)

People have taken to social media and paid tribute to Reubens.

Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon on The Walking Dead, says: “Paul was great. Really gonna miss him.”

Knocked Up director Judd Apatow pens: “This is devastating news. We got to spend many years working with Paul on Pee wee’s Big Holiday and got to see his genius and kindness up close.

“He made the world so happy! Some of the biggest laughs I have ever experienced was watching him perform live. He is irreplaceable.”

Someone else writes: “My heart is broken. Long live Pee-wee Herman!”

“You brought joy to millions, including myself. Rest easy Paul,” comments a fourth.

Another fan adds: “Rest In Peace, King. Thank you for all of the light that you put into the world.”

Pee-Wee Herman
Paul Reubens, the man behind Pee-Wee Herman, has sadly died aged 70. Credit Alamy

Reubens came up with the character Pee-wee Herman while being a member of the Los Angeles improvisational comedy team The Groundings.

By 1980, he launched The Pee-wee Herman – a stage production of the character he had been working on.

The show was a success and ran for five sold-out months – leading to him he getting a special at HBO.

Following his critically acclaimed 1985 film, Reubens was the star of his Emmy Award-winning CBS childhood show Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

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However, he retired the character in the 1990s after being the centre of a national s** scandal when he was arrested for indecent exposure at an adult movie theatre in Sarasota, Florida, as per AP.

He revived the character in the 2010s and revived The Pee-wee Herman Show – as well as starring in a number of Broadway shows.

In 2016, Reubens co-wrote and starred in Netflix’s Pee-wee’s Big Holiday a sequel to the 1988 film Big Top Pee-wee.

This would serve as Reubens’ final film role before his death.

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a former content editor at IGV who specialised in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.