See Pee-wee Herman actor Paul Reubens now at 70

You may not recognize the name immediately Paul Rubens, but you undoubtedly know his alter ego, Pee-wee Herman. Created by Reubens during his stint as an impromptu comedian in the early 1980s, the perpetual boy-in-a-suit whose contagious innocence and over-the-top demeanor appealed to both children and adults with a camp appreciation was eventually adapted into a stage show. an HBO special, a 15-time Emmy-winning children’s program, three feature films, and the immortality of pop culture.

Away from the screen and without the iconic gray suit, Reubens’ life hasn’t always been so sunny – but although his entertaining career was nearly doomed by two sex scandals, his legacy lives on. Read on to find out what happened to him afterwards Pee-Wee’s playhouse ended in 1990 and now sees him at the age of 70.

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Pee-Wee Herman performed in 1984
Paul Natkin/WireImage

At the height of his fame as a pee-wee, Reubens’ career was nearly wiped out by an incident in July 1991. The actor was arrested by an undercover cop at an adult movie theater in Sarasota, Florida and charged with indecent behavior.

Almost overnight repeats of Pee-Wee’s playhouse were pulled from television — although the show’s production had already ended, the arrest prompted CBS to remove it from syndication — and toy stores removed Pee-wee dolls from shelves. After Rubens failed to challenge the charges, he was sentenced to community service, but the damage to his reputation had been done. He became a punchline on late-night talk shows and despite celebrity endorsements like Cyndi Lauper (who performed the Playhouse theme song) and the public, the actor/comedian has kept out of the public eye and refused to speak about his arrest in interviews.

Paul Rubens in 1999
Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images

Throughout the ’90s, Reubens kept a low profile while continuing to act in small roles in films including Buffy the vampire slayer, Batman returns, Mathildeand The nightmare before Christmas. He earned critical acclaim for a recurring role on the hit sitcom Murphy Brownin which he played secretary Candice Bergens cover journalist. Reubens appeared in six episodes and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in 1995.

Towards the end of the decade, he seemed to emerge from beneath the cloud of scandal, landing a role in the 1999 superhero spoof mysterious men and further The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to promote the film. In 2001, he hosted the short-lived game show You don’t know Jack and received praise for playing a flamboyant drug dealer in the crime drama blowmain role Johnny Depp.

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Paul Rubens in 2004
Mychal Watts/WireImage for IDPR

Just as his career seemed to be recovering, Reubens was arrested again in 2002 and charged with possession of obscene material, which the actor claimed was merely a few mischaracterized images from his large collection of vintage erotica and bodybuilding magazines acted. He pleaded guilty but claimed the material was harmless.

“I wasn’t really like, wow, this is my creepy weird stuff not to collect. It’s not exciting,” he told NBC News in 2004. “You can say many things about me. And you could. The public might think I’m weird. She might think I’m crazy or anything anyone would want to think about me. That’s all right. As long as one of the things you don’t think about me is that I’m, “I’m a pedophile. Because that’s not true.”

Paul Rubens in 2016
D Dipasupil/FilmMagic

Despite his troubles with the law, Reubens continued to work and guest starred on shows throughout the 2000s, including Reno 911!, 30 rocks, pushing daisies, The Black Listand dirt.

He has also become a regular voice-over performer, voicing characters The Smurfs Movies and on TV in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, adventure time, Kung Fu Panda, Star Wars rebels, american father, Voltron, and other. He has also contributed his voice to video games such as Minecraft and call of Duty.

Recent television appearances include roles on Gotham, The Connersand What we do in the shadows plus stints on Celebrity Family Quarrel and Celebrity Wheel of Fortune.

Though Pee-wee was an ’80s icon, Reubens never quite left him behind. With his legal troubles in the rearview mirror in the mid-’00s, he began discussing plans to revive the character in a third feature film when the original series aired in reruns on Cartoon Network and found new audiences on DVD.

Before a film could be made, however, Pee-wee returned to where he started: the stage. In 2009, Reubens rebooted The Pee-wee Herman Show in Los Angeles, and the next year the production moved to Broadway for a limited run. One of the performances was taped for posterity and aired on HBO — just like the original stage show some three decades earlier.

In 2015, Netflix finally released this new movie, Pee-wee’s big holidaya road movie adventure co-written and produced by Reubens Judd Apatow. Despite the character’s long screen absence, the film received very positive reviews from critics, earning a score of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. “I tried to be… evocative [Pee-wee’s Big Adventure]being influenced in any way by it,” Reubens told ScreenCrush. “But both Paul Rust, the co-writer, and I tried very hard not to copy anything and not make it feel like a makeover.” See Pee-wee Herman actor Paul Reubens now at 70

Sarah Y. Kim

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