PAUL REUBENS Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Born: 27 August 1952
Birthplace: Peekskill, New York
Best Known As: The comedian who created the alter ego Pee-wee Herman


Name at birth: Paul Reubenfeld


Reubens played Pee Wee Herman, the sweetly juvenile prankster in a red bow tie, in the Saturday-morning children’s program Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Reubens was a member of the improvisational comedy group The Groundlings (along with Phil Hartman) in the 1970s, where he developed the Pee-wee character. Pee-wee was an asexual man-boy who combined kitsch with off-beat humor, and by 1985 the character was so popular that Reubens got his chance for a feature film. He hired newcomer Tim Burton to direct, and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure was a surprise box office hit. CBS ended up giving him a shot at a children’s show on Saturday mornings, Pee-wee’s Playhouse. The show was popular with viewers and critics, but was cancelled in 1991 after Reubens was arrested in Florida and charged with indecent exposure. Reubens stopped performing as Pee-wee and has since appeared in movies such as Matilda (1996), Mystery Men (1999, with Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo) and Blow (2001, co-starring with Johnny Depp and Penelopé Cruz).