RIP: Paul Reubens

Paul Reubens, the actor best known for his character Pee-Wee Herman, died yesterday from cancer.  Mr. Reubens was 70.

Paul Reubens began his career as a stage actor and comedian.  He developed his Pee-Wee Herman character for a stage show.  The Pee-Wee Herman Show proved so popular that HBO picked it up for a special.  The special was an instant hit.  Reubens was approached to bring the character to the big screen.  Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure was directed by Tim Burton.  The movie was so successful it spawned a Saturday morning program geared to kids (Pee-Wee’s Playhouse) and a movie sequel (Big Top Pee-Wee).  When the series ended, Paul Reubens stepped away from the character and took time off from acting.

When Paul Reubens returned to performing he alternated between television, movies and voice work.  Later in his career he would return to his Pee-Wee Herman character for a few videos and guest appearances.

Some of Paul Reuben’s television appearances include: Working Stiffs (2 episodes); The Flintstone Comedy Show (2 episodes); The Pee-Wee Herman Show (movie); Dream On; Mork & Mindy; Madame’s Place; All Star Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Saturday Spectacular; 227; Sesame Street: Put Down the Duckie; Sesame Street (3 episodes); Christmas at Pee-Wee’s Playhouse; Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (45 episodes); Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Murphy Brown (6 episodes); Everybody Loves Raymond; Alley McBeal; Rugrats (2 episodes); Reno 911; 30 Rock; Dirt (3 episodes); WWE Raw (2 episodes); The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway; Batman: The Brave and Bold (4 episodes); Tron: Uprising (17 episodes); The Blacklist (5 episodes); Gotham (3 episodes); What We Do In The Shadows; DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (5 episodes) and The Connors.

Some of Paul Reuben’s movie appearances include: The Brotherhood; The Blues Brothers; Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie; Meatball’s Part II; Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure;  Big Top Pee-Wee; Moonwalker; Batman Returns; The Nightmare Before Christmas; Matilda; Doctor Dolittle; Mystery Men; Blow; Pee-Wee Gets an iPad and Pee-Wee Goes to Sturgis.   

I’m old enough to remember when Pee-Wee Herman went viral.  Pee-Wee was everywhere.  I was also impressed with Paul Reuben’s commitment to the character.  He wouldn’t do interviews or appear anywhere except as Pee-Wee.  It was always fun seeing Mr. Reuben’s non-Pee-Wee appearances later in his career.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Paul Reuben’s family, friends and fans.