“Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing for the last six years,” a post on Paul Reubens’s Instagram account noted on Monday. “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.”
Reubens’s comic character—an upbeat, innocent-acting man-child donning a suit and bowtie—began as a stage performance and later succeeded in an HBO comedy special, multiple films and an award-winning children’s television program that aired in 1981, “The Pee-wee Herman Show.” Five years later showcased the Saturday-morning comedy series “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” which ran from 1986 to 1991. They were all accompanied by an assortment of related merchandise.
The actor was the son of Milton Rubenfeld, an American Jewish pilot who served in World War II before joining the first Israeli Air Force in 1948.
Reubens’s public profile took a hit in 1991 after he was arrested for exposing himself in an adult theater in Sarasota, Fla., followed a few years later by allegations of child pornography that were later dropped. for years, he was mired in sexual scandals. The comedian gradually rebuilt his career with Emmy-nominated guest appearances on “Murphy Brown” and a “comeback” role in the 2001 Johnny Depp crime drama “Blow.”
In the last 20 years, Reubens appeared in film and on television, including the final return of his creation in “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday” on Netflix in 2016.