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Paul Ruebens is an American actor, writer, film producer and comedian best known as his alter ego, Pee-wee Herman, on the Pee-wee Herman Show.
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Actor, comedian. Born Paul Rubenfeld on August 27, 1952 in Peekskill, New York. Best known as his alter ego, Pee-wee Herman, Paul Reubens was raised in Sarasota, Florida. His interest in entertainment stems from The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, which set up the big-top close to his childhood home. He graduated from Sarasota High School and briefly attended Plymouth State University in New Hampshire before heading to Hollywood to pursue a career in acting.
Once there, Paul Reubens studied drama at the California Institute of the Arts and performed with the improv group The Groundlings during the 1970s. It was there that he developed the Pee-wee character, an innocent man-boy who enjoyed playing tricks on his friends. His signature gray suit, small red bow tie, slicked back hair and silly dance moves completed the caricature. In 1981, HBO aired one of Paul Reubens' live shows, and the Pee-wee phenomenon began.
In 1985, Paul Reubens built on the popularity of his Pee-wee character by releasing his first feature film, Pee-wee's Big Adventure. The movie was directed by Tim Burton and was a huge hit at the box office. With his star on the rise, Reubens soon signed with CBS to develop the seminal Saturday morning children??s program Pee-wee's Playhouse, which ran from 1986 to 1990.
In 1991, Paul Reubens was arrested in Florida and charged with indecent exposure. The scandal soiled his squeaky clean image, and CBS immediately dropped reruns of Pee-wee's Playhouse from its lineup. Reubens subsequently stopped performing as Pee-wee and tried to resuscitate his acting career, appearing in such films as 1996's Matilda, 1999's Mystery Men and 2001's Blow.
A renewal of interest in the Pee-wee character prompted production on Pee-wee's Playhouse: The Movie, which is set to be released in 2010. Reubens is currently on tour performing a stage version of his former Pee-wee TV show, in an effort to promote his upcoming big-screen project.
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