| CURRENT EVENTS 'Pee-wee Herman' actor Paul Reubens dead at 70


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'Pee-wee Herman' actor Paul Reubens dead at 70

Paul Reubens, the comedian who played the popular children's character Pee-wee Herman, has died at 70 following a battle with cancer.

"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," his longtime rep said in a statement obtained by Fox News Digital.

"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," she added.


Pee Wee Herman Paul Reubens

Pee-wee Herman appears on NBC News' "Today" show. (Peter Kramer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)
In a personal statement he wrote before his passing, Reubens addressed his time away from the limelight. It was shared in a social media post published after the news broke of his death.


Paul Reubens in a black suit in photo released for his death

Paul Reubens had privately been battling cancer. (Art Streiber/August @aspictures)
"Please accept my apology for not going public with what I've been facing the last six years," he wrote. "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."

In a separate statement, Reubens requested "sympathy be made in honor of [his] late parents, Judy and Milton Rubenfeld, to Stand Up to Cancer or organizations involved in Dementia and Alzheimer's care, support and research."

Actor Paul Reubens, known for playing Pee-wee Herman, is seen in a 1995 portrait

Actor Paul Reubens poses for a portrait in July 1995 in Los Angeles. (Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images)
Born in New York and raised in Florida, Reubens began acting at an early age.

After college, while at The Groundlings Theatre & School in Los Angeles, he created the famous Pee-wee character, with his set premiering in 1981. He later performed at The Roxy on the Sunset Strip.


By 1981, the show had been moved to HBO, with Reubens amassing an even greater following nationwide.

Pee-wee Herman actor Paul Reubens

Publicity still from "Pee-wee's Playhouse" (CBS), a children's television show starring Paul Reubens and John Paragon, 1986. (John Kisch Archive/Getty Images)
Due to success on the small screen, Warner Bros. was interested in taking Pee-wee to the silver screen with the movie that was Tim Burton's directorial debut, "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" in 1985.

Paul Reubens as Pee-wee herman on a bike in the Pee-wee movie

Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman rides a bike in the 1985 film "Pee-wee's Big Adventure." (Warner Brothers/Getty Images)
"Pee-wee's Playhouse" on CBS began in 1986, and accrued 22 Emmy Awards during its five-year run on television. He was personally nominated for 14 Emmy Awards – he won two.

Circumstances for Reubens changed in 1991 after he was arrested for masturbating in an adult movie theater. He was severely scrutinized and faced repercussions from the arrest.

Although "Playhouse" was already off the air, Toys "R" Us pulled all Pee-wee Herman toys from stores and Disney-MGM Studios pulled his studio tour.

Paul Reubens mugshots

Paul Reubens in a mug shot following his arrest for public indecency, Sarasota, Florida, July 20, 1991. (Kypros/Getty Images)
Reubens ended up pleading no contest to the charges, remaining relatively off the radar during the 1990s.

In 2002, he was arrested on charges of possession of pornography. The original charge was for possession of obscene material improperly depicting a child under the age of 18 in sexual conduct, but it was later reduced to a misdemeanor of obscene material.


For three years, the actor had to register his address with the sheriffs' office and was additionally not allowed around children unless given permission by a parent or legal guardian.

Paul Reubens in a red checkered shirt and black jacket smirks at camera

Paul Reubens pleaded no contest in 1991. (Alli Harvey/Getty Images for Netflix)
In 2010, Reubens began his comeback tour, reintroducing "The Pee-wee Herman Show" to Los Angeles. It later went to Broadway where it saw great success. In the following years, he would go on to make more Pee-wee projects for both television and film.


Although he was best known for the fictional children's character, he did appear in several television shows and movies separate from Pee-wee, from "30 Rock" and "Everybody Loves Raymond" to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Life During Wartime."
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