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Hollywood Reacts To The Death Of Pee-Wee Herman

On July 31, 2023, news broke that Paul Reubens, the pioneering comedian and actor best known as Pee-wee Herman, passed away from cancer on July 30.. The beloved performer was just 70 years old, and fans and colleagues across the world are devastated to hear that this extraordinarily funny artist is no longer with us. Shortly after the world learned that Reubens had been living with cancer for six years — a statement released with news of his death read, "Please accept my apology for not going public with what I've been facing the last six years. 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" — Hollywood reacted to the loss of this incredible talent.

"Saturday Night Live" original cast member Laraine Newman took to Twitter to share her sadness over the loss of her dear friend, with whom she'd been in the industry for decades. "Paul and I first met in 1973 at Cal Arts," Newman wrote. "We remained friends for the next 50 years. Not day to day. Just the kind of friend that you can text out of nowhere or have a 3 hour lunch with. And don't get me started on the birthday texts-he sent them ALL DAY. I feel sick." Late night legend Conan O'Brien also mentioned Reubens' affection for birthdays: "No tweet can capture the magic, generosity, artistry, and devout silliness of Paul Reubens. Everyone I know received countless nonsensical memes from Paul on their birthday, and I mean EVERYONE. His surreal comedy and unrelenting kindness were a gift to us all. Damn, this hurts."

Paul Reubens' legacy will remain thanks to his friends and fans

It's abundantly clear that, whether or not these celebrities worked directly with Reubens, his impact was absolutely gigantic. Natasha Lyonne, a friend of Reubens, tweeted, "Love you so much, Paul. One in all time. Thank you for my career & your forever friendship all these years & for teaching us what a true original is." "Saturday Night Live" standout Sarah Sherman peppered her tweet with heart emojis, writing, "my patron saint. you invented everything. you created a world we all wish we could live in. PEE WEE FOR F**KING EVER !!!!"

"The Mandalorian's" own Carl Weathers also weighed in on Reubens' talent and kindness, tweeting, "Aw man... Pee-wee Herman has ridden off to heaven. RIP Paul Reubens. Thank you for giving us Pee-wee. You made yours truly a fan and you were one of the nice guys." 

And no, seriously — Reubens really, really loved celebrating everyone's birthdays, according to Jimmy Kimmel and David Hasselhoff. Kimmel tweeted, "Paul Reubens was like no one else – a brilliant and original comedian who made kids and their parents laugh at the same time. He never forgot a birthday and shared his genuine delight for silliness with everyone he met. My family and I will miss him." As for Hasselhoff, who'd known Reubens for years, he wrote, "Paul Reubens was a great friend. He gave me the muppets for my birthday and never forgot anyone's birthday from our class. He was in my class at CalArts and we had the same business manager. He was always kind to me and to everyone. He will be missed."

Celebrities mourned Paul Reubens and celebrated his life

Fellow comedy great Dave Foley, known for his work with the sketch troupe Kids in the Hall, also Tweeted about this loss, saying, "Very sad to hear Paul Reubens died. I was a big fan and I was fortunate enough to hang out with him occasionally over the years. Always kind, charming and funny. His creation, Pee Wee Herman, made life brighter and sillier for us all." Steve Martin agreed: "Pee Wee got his wish to fly. Thanks Paul Reubens for the brilliant off the wall comedy. Our boy Pee Wee..."

Morgan Fairchild shared a heartbreaking tweet, indicating that she knew something was off with her friend: "I am devastated to hear of the passing of my friend, Paul Reubens!! He kept canceling lunch and offers to get together, but I had no idea he was suffering so much. My love and white light to him and his family." Writer and director Paul Feig also shared his heartfelt condolences, writing, "This is devastating. Truly heartbreaking. Paul was such a comedy genius. From his Letterman appearances to his TV shows and movies, he was so original and hilarious. And such a sweet man too. This is a huge loss for comedy. Thanks for all the laughs, Paul."

Jennifer Tilly didn't have much to say, but it spoke volumes. Alongside a picture of her and Reubens, she simply wrote, "Rip Paul Reubens. You always made me laugh."