A controversial icon has passed away: Pee-wee Herman star Paul Reubens has died.
On the actor’s Instagram account, representatives for the actor released a statement announcing his passing. They shared, “Last night we said farewell to Paul Reubens, an iconic American actor, comedian, writer and producer.” They explained that his “beloved character Pee-wee Herman” delighted “generations of children and adults.” Paul left behind a legacy of “positivity, whimsy and belief in the importance of kindness.”
The cause of his passing was cancer, according to the statement. It read, “Paul bravely and privately fought cancer for years with his trademark tenacity and wit.” They referred to his gifted and “prolific” talent, and role as a treasured friend. The statement closes by calling Paul a “man of remarkable character and generosity of spirit.”
But things weren’t always so rosy in the world of Paul Reubens. He rose to fame in his role as the titular character in Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Three films followed the original show: Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985), Big Top Pee-wee (1988), and Pee-wee’s Big Holiday (2016). However, there was a grim reason for the large gap between the second and third films: Paul was arrested in Florida. In 1991, Sarasota police arrested the popular children’s actor in an adult theater for exposing himself. Paul maintained his innocence, and his publicist called the Sarasota Police Department’s tactics “questionable.”
He was 70 at the time of his death.