Deccan Chronicle

Paul Reubens dies at 70...

...after a six-year struggle with cance


Paul Reubens, the actor and comedian whose Pee-wee Herman character — an overgrown child with a tight gray suit and an unforgetta­ble laugh — became a 1980s pop cultural phenomenon, has died at 70.

Reubens, who’s character delighted fans in the film “Peewee’s Big Adventure” and on the TV series “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” died Sunday night after a six-year struggle with cancer that he kept private, his publicist said in a statement.

“Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years,” Reubens said in a statement released Monday with the announceme­nt of his death. “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 y o u . ” Reubens created Pee-wee when he was part of the Los Angeles improv group The Groundling­s in the late 1970s. The live “Pee-wee Herman Show” debuted at a Los Angeles theater in 1981 and was a success with both kids during matinees and adults at a midnight show.

The show closely resembled the format the Saturday morning TV “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” would follow years later, with Herman living in a wild and wacky home with a series of stock-character visitors, including one, Captain Karl, played by the late “Saturday Night Live” star Phil Hartman.

Reubens took Pee-wee to the big screen with 1985’s “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” which takes the character outside for a nationwide escapade. A sequel followed three years later in the less wellreceiv­ed “Big Top Pee-wee,” in which Pee-wee seeks to join a circus. Reubens’ character wouldn’t get another movie starring role until 2016’s Pee-wee’s Big Holiday,” for Netflix. His television series, “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” ran for five seasons, earned 22 Emmys.

Jimmy Kimmel posted on Instagram that “Paul Reubens was like no one else — a brilliant and original comedian who made kids and their parents laugh at the same time. He never forgot a birthday and shared his genuine delight for silliness with everyone he met.” Director Guillermo del


Toro tweeted that Reubens w “one of the patron saints of misfitted, weird, maladjust wonderful, miraculous odditie The act was a hit because worked on multiple levels, ev though Reubens insists that w n’t the plan.

“It’s for kids,” Reubens told T Associated Press in 2010. “Peo have tried to get me for years go, ‘It wasn’t really for ki right?’ Even the original sh was for kids. I always censo myself to have it be kid-friendl “The whole thing has been ju gut feeling from beginning,” Reub told the AP. “That’s it ever is and I th always ever be. Mu as people want me dissect it and expl it, I can’t. One, I do know, and two, I do want to know, a three, I feel like I’ll h myself if I know.”

Reubens’ career w derailed when he w arrested in 1991 for indecent ex sure in an adult movie theater Sarasota, Florida, the city wh he grew up. He was handed small fine but the damage w incalculab­le. He became the quent butt of late-night talk sh jokes and the perception Reubens immediatel­y chang “The moment that I realized name was going to be said in same sentence as children and s that’s really intense,” Reubens t NBC in 2004. “That’s somethin knew from that very mome whatever happens past that po something’s out there in the that is really bad.”

In 2001, Reubens was arres and charged with misdemean possession of child pornograp after police seized images fr his computer and photograp collection, but the allegation w reduced to an obscenity cha and he was given three years p bation. —

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