Paul Reubens, Actor Behind Beloved Pee-Wee Herman Character, Dead At 70

Reubens excelled at playing outsize, peculiar characters, and appeared as a villain in the 1992 underground hit “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and the intelligent extraterrestrial machine Max in 1986’s “Flight of the Navigator.” In that film, he was credited as Paul Mall. 

Due to a highly public arrest in 1991, Ruebens retreated from the public eye for several years, emerging in several notable kid flicks in the late 1990s. 1999 saw the release of “Mystery Men,” one of the best of all superhero movies, in which Reubens played the Spleen, a superhero with deadly accurate flatulence. In 2001, Reubens appeared in the biographic film “Blow,” playing a level-headed cocaine dealer, accruing a great deal of acclaim. Throughout the 2000s and 2010s, Ruebens continued a prolific career as a voice actor and guest performer throughout dozens of TV shows and movies. In 2016, Ruebens returned to the Pee-wee Herman role for the Netflix film “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday,” wherein he wanted nothing more than a date with Joe Manganiello. 

On social media, Reubens posted that he had been privately struggling with cancer for six years, saying: 

“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.”

Reubens’ estate added: 

“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.”

Rest in peace.

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