Paul Reubens, recognized greatest by his character title Pee-wee Herman, died Sunday after a non-public six-year battle with most cancers. He was 70.

“Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years,” Reubens wrote on an Instagram message posted at present. “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 submit’s caption, written by his property, reads, “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 in our hearts as a treasured friend and man of remarkable character and generosity of spirit.”

Born Paul Rubenfeld in Peekskill, New York, Reubens, whose iconic character each parodied and celebrated kids’s TV hosts of the Nineteen Fifties and would develop into a cherished determine amongst children who beloved his light however anarchic humor and the adults who appreciated the wit behind it, was an improv comic and actor who acquired his huge break in Los Angeles as a part of The Groundlings within the Seventies. He remained with the troupe for six years, constructing a friendship and a collaboration with fellow Groundling Phil Hartman.

In 1980, Reubens had a small half as a waiter in The Blues Brothers Film. That very same 12 months, he had a small however scene-stealing position as a put-upon lodge clerk who offers with the title characters in Cheech and Chong’s Subsequent Film. He tries in useless to get LAPD to reply to his name for assist – however then has an concept. “I think they’re Iranians,” he says. Minimize to picture of rushing cop automobiles with sirens blaring.

All of the whereas, he was growing the character that may shoot the actor to worldwide fame within the Eighties.

By 1982, Reubens was spotlighting the fully-formed character — wearing a too-small grey go well with, white shirt and pink bow-tie, his quick hair slick with what an earlier period might need referred to as greasy child stuff — in a stay act referred to as The Pee-wee Herman Present, a routine already so widespread that HBO handed Reubens his personal particular constructed across the stage present.

Hardly ever seen in public out of character, Reubens meshed so properly with the child-like (however sometimes naughty) Pee-wee that the actor and character developed each a small however devoted following that shortly expanded to the mainstream. In 1985, he starred in Tim Burton’s breakthrough hit movie Pee-wee’s Huge Journey (1985). Three years later Reubens starred within the sequel Huge High Pee-wee.

Parody crossed over into actuality with Pee-wee’s Playhouse, the 1986-90 Saturday morning kids’s program on CBS. With that weekly sequence, Reubens eradicated the edgier elements of the sooner stay present, turning into a children’ present favourite full with catchphrases (“I meant to do that”) and shelves-full of merchandise, from dolls, playsets and Halloween costumes, to call a number of.

The sequence would additionally characteristic Reubens’ previous good friend and fellow Groundling Hartman (because the character Captain Carl through the first season), Laurence Fishburne, Lynne Marie Stewart, and S. Epatha Merkerson.

Reubens’ profession got here to an abrupt, and years-long, halt in July of 1991 when he was arrested in a Sarasota, Florida, grownup theater and charged with indecent publicity. The incident made worldwide headlines, appreciable ridicule and a fast finish to the reams of merchandise on toy retailer cabinets. CBS, which had already canceled the Saturday present pre-scandal, ended all reruns of this system.

Pleading no contest to the cost, Reubens was sentenced to neighborhood service, for which he produced two antidrug public-service bulletins.

Reubens was broadly defended by many in Hollywood, however he largely prevented public appearances through the time, lastly rising, in character, on the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards, delivering the instant-classic opening line, “Heard any good jokes lately?”

He’d sit out a lot of the Nineteen Nineties, re-emerging within the 1999 characteristic movie Thriller Males and, in 2001, Blow. By this time, Reubens sometimes left the Pee-wee character behind.

Different post-scandal credit embrace Reno 911! (2006), a hilarious activate 30 Rock (2007), Pushing Daisies (2007), Life Throughout Wartime (2009), The Blacklist (2014–2015), Unintentional Love (2015) and Mosaic (2018).