Pee-wee Herman actor Paul Reubens Dies at 70 from Cancer; His Last Message Goes Viral Online

Pee-wee Herman actor Paul Reubens died from cancer on Sunday (July 30). He was 70. His family members announced the sad news through a Facebook post on his official social media page. According to the post, he bravely fought cancer for several years with his tenacity and wit.

"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. 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 our hearts as a treasured friend and man of remarkable character and generosity of spirit," the statement read.

Shortly after the news about Reubens' demise came out, his last message to the fans and well-wishers went viral online. The message was posted on his official Instagram page simultaneously with the death announced.

"Please accept my apology for not going public with what I've been facing the last six years. 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," the message read.

Paul Reubens
Paul Reubens dies at 70. Instagram

Condolences and Prayers

Following the news of Reubens' Demise, condolences and prayers poured in on social media platforms and online communities from his friends, fans, and well-wishers.

"Love you so much, Paul. One in all time. Thank you for my career & your forever friendship all these years & for teaching us what a true original is," Natasha Lyonne, who shared screen space with Reubens in Pee-wee's Playhouse, wrote.

"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. My family and I will miss him," Jimmy Kimmel tweeted.

"No tweet can capture the magic, generosity, artistry, and devout silliness of Paul Reubens. Everyone I know received countless nonsensical memes from Paul on their birthday, and I mean EVERYONE. His surreal comedy and unrelenting kindness were a gift to us all. Damn, this hurts," Conan O'Brien wrote.

"Paul Reubens was one of the most unique and uniquely gifted people I have known. My times in his company were a delight. Stories, ideas, opinions, life experience - so much to share. He brought joy. Your talents were many&wonderful. And Pee Wee was a delight. #RIP PaulReubens," Jason Alexander stated.

Pee-wee Herman
Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman. Twitter

The Birth of Pee-wee Herman

Born on August 27, 1952, in Peekskill, New York, as the son of Judy Rosen and Milton Rubenfeld, Reubens started dreaming about becoming an actor after attending shows put by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. He grew up watching these shows in Sarasota, Florida. He attended Boston University a year before moving to California for fulfilling his acting dream. The actor joined the California Institute of the Arts as a student to pursue acting.

Reubens began his journey in entertainment industry with small roles in several shows, including The Gong Show in 1976 and The Groundlings. The birth of Pee-wee Herman took place during an improv stage act with the groundbreaking improv comedy troupe in 1977. The childlike character received lots of love because of his high-pitched nervous laugh.

The actor appeared as Pee-wee in several productions, like Cheech and Chong's Next Movie in 1980, The Pee-wee Herman Show in Los Angeles, The Pee-wee Herman Show on HBO, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Big Top Pee-wee, and Pee-wee's Playhouse. The popularity of the live-action Saturday morning children's comedy show Pee-wee's Playhouse gained him an award as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1988.

"I'm so excited and glad, this is the highlight and high point of my whole career. I just hope I don't let anybody down, that you like my new movie, and that I continue to do stuff that's cool and new and interesting and fun," the actor said at the ceremony.

Paul Reubens
Paul Reubens in Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Twitter


After the Pee-wee's Playhouse ended, the actor appeared in a few television shows, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Murphy Brown. The Blacklist, What We Do in the Shadows, Gotham, and Pee-wee's Big Holiday are some of his other works.

Although Reubens gained popularity with Pee-wee's Playhouse, he faced several challenges in life. He was after in 1991 for masturbating in an adult movie theater. The actor was charged with community service after pleaded no contest to related charges. Several years later, he faced legal troubles after Los Angeles police searched his house and discovered several items, including a set of photos that the attorney's house described as child pornography.

Even though Reubens' attorney described the images as a collection of vintage collectibles kitsch, he was charged with child pornography. His charges were lifted after two years in exchange for a guilty plea.