Paul Reubens‘ Pee-wee’s Play House co-stars have spoken out following the news of his death. “Love you so much, Paul,” Natasha Lyonne tweeted on Monday, July 31 alongside clips of her as a child on Pee-wee’s Play House. “One in all time. Thank you for my career & your forever friendship all these years & for teaching us what a true original is.” Natasha, 44, played the character Opal, per her IMDb page.
Sandra Bernhard, who played Rhonda on a 1990 episode of the show (via IMDb), also took to social media to mourn the loss of the beloved actor. “The brilliant subversive children’s show created by @peeweeherman broke all the rules,” she wrote alongside a clip of herself on the show, which can be seen below. She added that Paul called her a few years ago, and it meant a lot to her. “It surprised me we spoke for quite awhile,” she recalled. “There was a lot on his plate back in the day, all that success, high expectations, tremendous fame, I think it does a number on a person. It’s hard to distill, & it all goes by so very fast.”
Sandra, 68, also shared an image of Paul on her Instagram Story and called him a “true genius.” In another slide, she remembered Paul as “the funniest” and “one of a kind”.
HollywoodLife reached out to Laurence Fishburne, who had a recurring role in the Pee-wee franchise, and Jimmy Smits‘ reps for a statement, but has not heard back as of this writing.
Paul, best known for creating the groundbreaking Pee-wee Herman franchise, died on Sunday, July 30, after a previously undisclosed battle with cancer. He was 70 years old. “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,” a July 31 statement written on his Instagram page read. “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.”
A second message presumably written by Paul before his death was also included with the above-mentioned announcement. “Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years,” the message read. “I have always felt a huge amount of love and respect for my friends fans and supporters. I have loved you all so much and enjoyed making art for you.”
Paul’s entertainment career originated in Los Angeles, where he joined the live comedy troupe called the Groundlings, per Variety. He debuted the stage version of The Pee-wee Herman Show in 1980, and his star rose from there, first landing an HBO special, and then creating the television show and movies people came to love in the ’80s and ’90s. He also starred in the 1999 film Mystery Men and 2001’s Blow, and made guest appearances on a plethora of television shows, such as 30 Rock, Pushing Daisies, Rugrats, Reno 911!, and more.