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‘Pee-Wee Herman’ Actor Paul Reubens Dies at Following Bout with Cancer

Actor and writer Paul Reubens died following a battle with cancer on Sunday night, according to a Facebook post from his official page.


According to the post, Reubens had been fighting the disease in private for the past  six years. In a statement included with the post, Reubens wrote he was grateful for his fans and apologized for not disclosing his health previously.


Reubens is best known for portraying the character Pee-wee Herman. Originally starting as part of a  stage show in 1981, the character would then appear on television and in films through the 1980s.


The actor wished to move on from the character going into the 1990’s but a notorious arrest for indecent exposure at an adult theater in 1991 stalled his involvement in major projects for most of the decade. He would see a career resurgence following roles in 1999’s Mystery Men and 2001’s Blow, doing interviews as himself instead of the Herman character.


In 2002, Reuben would be arrested and charged for misdemeanor possession of material “ improperly depicting a child under the age of 18 in sexual conduct.” The Los Angeles District Attorney at the time did not find grounds to charge Reubens with a felony, and both the actor and associates have said the material in his possession was not pornographic in  nature.


Reubens would spend the next two years in Florida to care for his ill father, who would also pass away of cancer in early 2004. Reubens would perform in smaller acting and roles on television both on screen and voice acting before starting his Pee-wee Herman stage shows once again in 2010.


The new stage show proved to be a success, needing to change venues due to high demand and being taped to air on HBO. Reubens was also reportedly working on scripts for two more Pee-wee movies, though neither would be developed before his death.


The actor's final film would be 2016’s Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, which was released on Netflix. He would continue to work in television, with his final appearance being in 2023 voicing a character on animated sitcom Bob’s Burgers.


Following the announcement of his death, several actors and media personalities shared their condolences for the actor's death, including late night host Jimmy Kimmel, actor David Arquete and cartoonist Craig McCracken.

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