Paul Reubens (born Paul Rubenfeld; August 27, 1952 – July 30, 2023) was an American actor, comedian, and writer. He was known for creating and portraying the character Pee-wee Herman.
Reubens was born in Peekskill, New York, and grew up in Sarasota, Florida. He began his career as an improvisational comedian with The Groundlings comedy troupe in Los Angeles. In 1981, he created the character Pee-wee Herman, a childlike man with a distinctive bow tie and a red leather suit.
Pee-wee Herman first appeared in a stage show, The Pee-wee Herman Show, which was a critical and commercial success. The show was later adapted into an HBO special in 1981 and a feature film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, in 1985.
Reubens continued to perform as Pee-wee Herman in other projects, including a Saturday morning cartoon series, a Broadway show, and a second feature film, Pee-wee’s Playhouse. He also starred in other films, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) and Mystery Men (1999).
In 1991, Reubens was arrested for indecent exposure after being caught masturbating in an adult movie theater. He was acquitted of the charges, but the incident damaged his career. He did not return to the public eye until 1999, when he starred in Mystery Men.
Reubens continued to work in show business until his death in 2023. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2017, but he kept his diagnosis private. He died at the age of 70.
Reubens was a talented and versatile performer who brought joy to millions of people. His creation of Pee-wee Herman was a cultural phenomenon, and his work continues to be enjoyed by fans of all ages.
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