Paul Reubens a.k.a Pee-wee Herman died unexpectedly after a battle with cancer on Sunday July 29, 2023. The actor kept his illness a secret from the public but had battled against it for the past six years.
Paul Reubens was better known by his stage name Pee-wee Herman. Millennials and Gen-X knew him from Pee-wee’s Playhouse, a Saturday morning variety show for children that ran from 1986-1990.
Disney fans the world over knew him as R-X24 or more affectionately, Dj Rex! That’s right Pee-wee Herman was the voice behind our lovable Droid captain turned Dj. R-X24 was a captain of the StarSpeeder3000 for the Star Tours attractions at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Later he hung up his Captain’s hat and took to spinning tracks as a Dj at Oga’s Cantina in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge! Reubens brought an infectious joy to the character that made him a fan favorite.
He also voiced numerous character including Fife, from the 1997 direct to video animation Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas. He also voiced Lock, one of Oogie Boogie’s Henchmen in Nightmare Before Christmas. His last feature film appearance was Pee-wee’s Big Adventure in 2016.
Disney Parks expressed their condolences to the iconic actor on a touching farewell on Twitter:
Paul Reubens – Our Captain, our DJ, our Rex. 🤍 pic.twitter.com/0Io2Tpr59O
— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) July 31, 2023
Reubens made a conscious choice to keep his illness a secret from the public but addressed fans posthumously in a pre-written message on Instagram via his estate. Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years,” wrote Reubens in a statement posted to Instagram. “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.”
A spokes person for Reubens estate went on to say, “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,” wrote Reubens’ estate in the caption. “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.”