The autopsy results for Paul Reubens, who passed away in July, have finally been released. The Hollywood Reporter has obtained the actor’s death certificate, which states that he died of “acute hypoxic respiratory failure.” It occurs when the body’s respiratory system is unable to supply enough oxygen.
Reubens, who created the beloved character of Pee-wee Herman, passed away at the age of 70 in Los Angeles. According to his representative, he had been battling two different types of cancer for many years before he passed away.
“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,” a statement said at the time of his passing.
“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.” While a member of the Los Angeles improv group The Groundlings in 1978, Reubens conceived of the character of Pee-wee.
In the future, he had his show featured on an HBO special and went on a 22-city tour of the United States with it. He then reprised the role in multiple feature films, such as 1985’s Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and 1988’s Randal Kleiser’s Big Top Pee-wee. Pee-wee’s Playhouse, the CBS Saturday morning children’s show starring the actor, aired for five seasons, from 1986 to 1991.
The program won two Emmys as well. To name just a few of his many credits outside of Pee-wee, Reubens has appeared in Batman Returns, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dunston Checks In, Mystery Men, Blow, Life During War, and more.
Reubens also faced controversy throughout his career. He was arrested in Sarasota, Florida, for indecent exposure in an adult theater in July 1991. In exchange for his guilty plea, he completed 75 hours of community service.
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Then, in 2002, Los Angeles police accused him of illegally possessing a video that depicted a kid younger than 18 engaging in sexual acts. He claimed he was an erotica collector when the allegations against him were dropped.
Reubens returned to the role of the eccentric Pee-wee Herman in a modernized production of the show in Los Angeles and New York City in 2010. In 2015, he collaborated with Judd Apatow to produce Netflix’s Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.
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