This one hurts: Pee-Wee Herman has left us. Permanently. Paul Reubens lost a battle with cancer . . . a battle nobody knew he was fighting. He was 70.
Like Norm MacDonald, Paul never told anybody. His family issued a statement saying, quote, "Paul bravely and privately fought cancer for years with his trademark tenacity and wit. Paul actually had a statement of his own ready to be released upon his death. He said, quote, "Please accept my apology for not going public with what I've been facing for 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."
Paul developed the Pee-Wee character while he was with the Groundlings comedy troupe in the 1970s. He turned it into a stage show, which led to an HBO special in 1981.
He broke HUGE with "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" directed by Tim Burton in 1985. A sequel called "Big Top Pee-Wee" followed in 1988. Then came the classic Saturday morning kids' show "Pee-Wee's Playhouse", which ran from 1986 to 1991 on CBS. It probably would have lasted longer, except he got arrested for indecent exposure in a porn theater in Sarasota, Florida in July of 1991.
The Pee-Wee character disappeared for a while after that, but Paul continued to act in smaller parts, in movies like Tim Burton's "Batman Returns", "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Mystery Men", and "Blow". He was also the voice of Lock in "The Nightmare Before Christmas".
In 2002, he suffered another setback when he was charged with possessing "obscene" material depicting an underage child in a sexual manner.
Those charges were dropped, and Paul explained the material was part of a vintage erotica collection he'd purchased, and which he'd considered innocent. He added that he was NOT "titillated by images of children." In 2010, Paul did a revival of "The Pee-Wee Herman Show" on Broadway and made a movie for Netflix called "Pee-Wee's Big Holiday" in 2015.
Tim Burton, Elvira, and More Pay Tribute to Pee-Wee
Tributes to Pee-Wee Herman came pouring in from Tim Burton, Elvira, Guillermo del Toro, and of course, E.G. Daly, who played his girl Dottie in "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure".
Tributes poured in for Paul Reubens yesterday. Here are some highlights:
Tim Burton who made his directorial debut with "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure": "I'll never forget how Paul helped me at the beginning of my career. It would not have happened without his support."
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark: "I am crushed. The world has lost one of the funniest human beings who ever lived . . . I will miss you and all the wonderful times we spent together more than you'll ever know."
Natasha Lyonne, who made her debut on "Pee-Wee's Playhouse" when she was 6 years old: "Thank you for my career & your forever friendship all these years & for teaching us what a true original is."
Conan O'Brien: "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."
Guillermo del Toro: "One of the patron saints of all misfitted, weird, maladjusted, wonderful, miraculous oddities."
Cheech and Chong posted a video tribute. You stoners might . . . but probably don't . . . remember that Paul was in two of their flicks, "Next Movie" and "Nice Dreams", in 1980 and '81.