RIP Paul Reubens

Published: July 31, 2023
Categories: News

ToughPigs is saddened to report that Paul Reubens, best known as the creator and portrayer of Pee-wee Herman, has passed away at the age of 70.

Coming up through the famed Los Angeles comedy troupe The Groundlings, Reubens rocketed to stardom with the character of Pee-wee, a manic yet loving homage to the children’s television hosts of the 1950’s. He first conquered the stage with “The Pee-wee Herman Show,” then big screen with the 1985 film “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” all leading to his own TV series, “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” which ran from 1986 to 1990.

With his nasal voice, wild laugh, and childlike wonder, it’s no surprise that Pee-wee (and Reubens) found kindred spirits with the Muppets. His first Muppet appearance was in the winter 1984 issue of Muppet Magazine, where he was paired up in “The Second Great Muppet Look-Alike Contest” with Robin. Later, in the spring 1986 issue, Pee-wee was given a high honor as a recipient of the “Honorary Muppet Award” alongside Robin Williams and Dolly Parton. Finally, he was given the cover story in winter 1987, where Kermit the Frog visited the famed playhouse.

1987 was also the year Reubens, again as Pee-wee, appeared on “Sesame Street.” From the set of “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” he put his own spin on the alphabet, literally dubbing it “The Pee-wee Herman Alphabet.” Additionally, he appeared in the first celebrity edition of “Put Down the Duckie,” which you can watch below.

Beyond Pee-wee, Reubens had an extensive acting career, appearing in such films as “Midnight Madness,” “The Blues Brothers,” “Batman Returns,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and “Mystery Men,” and the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop film “Buddy.” Additionally, he acted in television shows like “Murphy Brown” where he played recurring character Andrew J. Lansing III, “30 Rock,” and “Mork & Mindy.”

For readers of a certain age, Reubens and Pee-wee were childhood personified, and it was a natural fit (and just plain fun) to join forces with the Muppets.

Click here to help us remember Paul Reubens on the ToughPigs forum!

by Matthew Soberman –


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