(PatriotWise.com) — Actor Paul Reubens, best known for playing Pee-wee Herman, died on Sunday from cancer at the age of 70, CBS News reported.
In a statement confirming his death, Reubens’ family said that the actor has been “bravely and privately” fighting cancer for years.
Reubens, who was born in New York State but raised in Sarasota, Florida, initially created the Pee-wee Herman character while performing with the Los Angeles improv group The Groundlings after graduating from college, according to CNN.
He was launched to stardom in the 1980s by playing the title character in the 1985 film “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.” The following year, he carried on playing the bow-tied nerd for the small screen in “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” the CBS series that ran from 1986 to 1990. Reubens returned to the big screen in 1988 for the sequel “Bit Top Pee-wee.”
Reubens created, co-wrote, and co-directed “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” for which he was nominated for 14 Emmy Awards and won twice.
Additionally, Reubens worked as a voice actor, appeared on several other television shows, and performed stand-up comedy.
Reubens’ career took a hit in 1991 after he was arrested and pleaded no contest to indecent exposure in Sarasota, Florida.
In 2002, he was charged with one count of possessing child pornography. The charge was later dropped after Reubens agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of obscenity.
In a statement posted by his family the day after his death, Reubens apologized to fans for not going public about his 6-year battle with cancer. He expressed his love and appreciation for his family and fans, saying he had “enjoyed making art for you.”
The family said in a statement that the actor had requested that any “expressions of sympathy” should be made to Stand Up to Cancer or any organization involved in Dementia and Alzheimer’s in memory of his parents Judy and Milton Rubenfeld.
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