Celebrities Mourn Paul Reubens Following ‘Pee-wee Herman’ Star’s Death – Hollywood Life

Conan O’Brien, Natasha Lyonne & More Mourn Paul Reubens Following ‘Pee-wee Herman’ Star’s Death

Stars who knew the 'Pee-wee's Playhouse' star and those who simply admired the man came together to share their grief over the loss of this comedic giant.

Reading Time: 6 minutes
View gallery
Image Credit: ©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

Paul Reubens, the creative mind behind the energetic and dynamic character known as Pee-wee Herman, died on Sunday (July 30) after a private battle with cancer. He was 70. “Paul bravely and privately fought cancer for years with his trademark tenacity and wit,” read the statement announcing the death of the comedy legend and beloved personality.  “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.”

As Pee-wee, Rubens was known for his television series Pee-Wee’s Play House and cinematic exploits (Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Big Top Pee-Wee, Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday). However, Paul’s career reached far beyond the funhouse, as did his impact – as seen by the many stars who mourned him after his death.

Natasha Lyonne

“Love you so much, Paul,” wrote Natasha Lyonne, while clips from her appearance on Pee-wee’s Play House. She played the character Opal, per IMDB. The Poker Face star added, “One in all time. Thank you for my career & your forever friendship all these years & for teaching us what a true original is.”

Laraine Newman

Laraine Newman – one of the founding members of The Groundlings and one of the original members of Saturday Night Live – shared a throwback photo of her alongside a young Paul Reubens (and John Paragon, the man who played Jambi the Genie on Pee-wee’s Playhouse.)  “Paul and I first met in 1973 at Cal Arts. We remained friends for the next 50 years. Not day to day. Just the kind of friend that you can text out of nowhere or have a 3-hour lunch with. And don’t get me started on the birthday texts-he sent them ALL DAY. I feel sick.”

Cheech Marin

(Universal/courtesy Everett Collection)

“Paul was one of the funniest actors I knew and a great friend,” Cheech Marin said in a statement to HollywoodLife. “He was an indelible character in our movies and will be so missed.” As Cheech noted, Paul had notable appearances in Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie and Nice Dreams.


Rest in Peace, brother 💚

♬ original sound – Cheech & Chong

Cassandra Peterson

“Goodbye to my dear longtime friend, Paul Reubens. I am crushed,” wrote Cassandra Peterson, the woman who brought Elvira, Mistress of the Dark to life. She also appeared in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and in Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie. She would also work along with John Paragon on Elvira’s Movie Macabre and the two Elvira movies. “The world has lost one of the funniest human beings who ever lived,” she wrote. “Paul, I hope wherever you are, you have reunited with John and Phil [Hartman] and are laughing your asses off – together again. I love you so much, Paul. I will miss you and all the wonderful times we spent together more than you’ll ever know.”


“Goodbye, Paul,” tweeted Cher. ” Goodnight, sweet prince. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.’ Hamlet. William Shakespeare.”

Steve Martin

“Pee Wee got his wish to fly,” wrote Steve Martin on Twitter, referring to the ending of the original Pee-wee’s Playhouse special. “Thanks, Paul Reubens, for the brilliant off-the-wall comedy. Our boy Pee Wee…”


Craig McCracken

“Thank you, Paul Reubens,” wrote Craig McCracken, creator of Powerpuff Girls. “Thank you for your genius, for opening up the doors for smart, silly, subversive, & sweet entertainment for viewers of all ages. Thank you for the CalArts class ring, for the annual Christmas cards. Thank you for welcoming generations to the playhouse. RIP.”

Jennifer Tilly

Jennifer Tilly shared a non-Pee-wee photo of Paul when mourning the loss of her friend.

David Hasselhoff

“Paul Reubens was a great friend,” wrote David Hasselhoff while sharing a signed photo from Paul Reubens. “He gave me the Muppets for my birthday and never forgot anyone’s birthday from our class. He was in my class at CalArts and we had the same business manager. He was always kind to me and to everyone. He will be missed.”

Jimmy Kimmel

“Paul Reubens was like no one else – a brilliant and original comedian who made kids and their parents laugh at the same time. He never forgot a birthday and shared his genuine delight for silliness with everyone he met. My family and I will miss him.”

Conan O’Brien

“No tweet can capture the magic, generosity, artistry, and devout silliness of Paul Reubens,” wrote late-night legend 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.”

Wayne White

Wayne White, the Emmy award-winning artist who worked as a set and character designer on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (which was featured in his documentary, Beauty Is Embarrassing), shared a photo from his time on the set to his Instagram.

“He cheered up the world and maybe even changed it a little with his brilliant character, Pee-wee Herman,” wrote White. “He certainly changed my life in a miraculous way when he hired a complete unknown to work on the greatest TV show of all time. I’ll always love him for that. Goodbye, Paul.”

Carl Weathers

“Aw man… Pee-wee Herman has ridden off to heaven. RIP Paul Reubens. Thank you for giving us Pee-wee. You made yours truly a fan and you were one of the nice guys.”

Paul Feig

“This is devastating,” tweeted director Paul Feig. “Truly heartbreaking. Paul was such a comedy genius. From his Letterman appearances to his TV shows and movies, he was so original and hilarious. And such a sweet man too. This is a huge loss for comedy. Thanks for all the laughs, Paul.”

Jack White

“The great Paul Reubens has moved on to a better place,” wrote Jack White on his Instagram page. Jack shared images from the “Steady, As She Goes” video which he mentioned along with his heartfelt message.

“Creator of the genius character Pee Wee Herman, and an actor and comedian of incredible talent, Paul was a good friend to me and reached out any time he felt I was in need. A generous soul who never forgot a birthday or Christmas card for those he loved. He had incredible taste in music and was very funny in everyday life. I first got to witness his gift while filming a video for the Raconteurs together, and we became friends instantly. I was just thinking about you last night Paul, peace be with you.”

The world learned about Reubens’ death via a statement posted to his official Facebook on Monday, July 31. “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,” reps for the star wrote. “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.”

(©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection)

The message also included, presumably, a message from Reubens himself. ” “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.”

While many will remember Reubens for the childlike innocence wrapped up in a gray suit and a red bowtie, his other notable appearances include playing the father of Danny DeVito‘s character, The Penguin, in Batman Returns, as well as films like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Blow, Matilda, Life During Wartime, and Mystery Men. He also expanded his legacy on television, appearing on The Blacklist, Murphy Brown, and more. He was also a prolific voice actor, lending his talents to animated shows like Chowder, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and Tron: Uprising.

This post is updating…