Paul Reubens, the legendary comedian celebrated for his signature role as Pee-wee Herman, has passed away. According to a social media post, Reubens had been silently fighting cancer for the past six years and succumbed to the illness on Sunday, July 30. The post went on to pay tribute to him as a prolific and talented performer, saying, “His comedy will eternally resonate within the comedic landscape and in our hearts as a beloved friend and a man of extraordinary character and benevolence.”
The post also shared a poignant message from Reubens himself, penned before his death, “I apologize for keeping my struggles over the past six years private. I’ve always felt an immense amount of love and respect from my friends, fans, and supporters. I’ve loved you all deeply and have taken great pleasure in creating art for you.”
Clad in his iconic gray suit and red bowtie, Reubens created the unforgettable character for a stage show in 1980, followed by an HBO special the subsequent year. This led to multiple television appearances as Herman, resulting in the cult-favorite 1985 comedy film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. This film was significant for being the first directorial venture for Tim Burton, who collaborated with Danny Elfman for the score. In 1988, another Pee-wee film, Big Top Pee-wee, directed by Randal Kleiser, was released.
Reubens utilized his Pee-wee fame to launch a children’s TV series, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, on CBS in 1986. The show, which ran until 1991, was a venue for Reubens’ unique, bright humor and vivid characters, and it featured a theme song composed by Mark Mothersbaugh and performed by Cyndi Lauper. Music played a crucial role in the show, with contributions from Elfman, the Residents, Little Richard, Todd Rundgren, and others. Grace Jones also made a memorable appearance on a Pee-wee Christmas special, performing “Little Drummer Boy.”
Numerous artists, including “Weird Al” Yankovic, Tegan and Sara, Sarah Sherman, Seth Bogart, Hamilton Leithauser, Ariel Rechtshaid, and Jeff Bhasker, expressed their admiration for Reubens. Natasha Lyonne, whose early TV career included a role in Pee-wee’s Playhouse, credited him for her success. Questlove described Reubens as “one in a million,” noting his ability to make everyone feel valued. Kid Cudi labeled him as his hero, sharing a photo of them together.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Paul Reubens’ death
What was Paul Reubens best known for?
Paul Reubens was best known for creating and performing the character Pee-wee Herman, a role that made him a legendary figure in comedy.
How did Paul Reubens die?
Paul Reubens died after a private six-year battle with cancer.
What were some of the major works in Paul Reubens’ career?
Paul Reubens first performed as Pee-wee Herman in a stage production in 1980, then in an HBO special in 1981. He starred in the cult-hit comedy film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, in 1985. He also created and starred in the children’s TV series, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which aired from 1986 to 1991.
Who paid tributes to Paul Reubens after his death?
Several artists paid tributes to Reubens, including “Weird Al” Yankovic, Tegan and Sara, Sarah Sherman, Seth Bogart, Hamilton Leithauser, Ariel Rechtshaid, Jeff Bhasker, Natasha Lyonne, Questlove, and Kid Cudi.
Was Paul Reubens involved in any TV series?
Yes, Paul Reubens was the creator and star of the children’s television series, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which aired on CBS from 1986 to 1991.