Paul Reubens, identified 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 put up’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 youngsters’s TV hosts of the Fifties and would change into a cherished determine amongst youngsters who liked his mild however anarchic humor and the adults who appreciated the wit behind it, was an improv comic and actor who obtained his massive 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 (who would later seem because the character Captain Carl in the course of the first season of the CBS Saturday morning present).

In 1980, Reubens had a small half as a waiter in The Blues Brothers, all of the whereas 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 swimsuit, white shirt and pink bow-tie, his quick hair slick with what an earlier period might need known as greasy child stuff – in a stay act known as The Pee-wee Herman Present, a routine already so well-liked that HBO handed Reubens his personal particular constructed across the stage present.

Not often 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 rapidly expanded to the mainstream. In 1985, he starred in Tim Burton’s breakthrough hit movie Pee-wee’s Massive Journey (1985). Three years later Reubens starred within the sequel Massive Prime Pee-wee.

Parody crossed over into actuality with Pee-wee’s Playhouse, the 1986-90 Saturday morning youngsters’s program on CBS. With that weekly collection, Reubens eradicated the edgier elements of the sooner stay present, turning into a youngsters’ 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.

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

Different post-scandal credit embody 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).