Published On: Aug 25 2011 11:36:02 PM CDTUpdated On: Aug 27 2014 01:00:00 AM CDT
It's been nearly 30 years since a man-child sporting a gray suit and red bow tie conquered TV. Check out where Paul Reubens and other stars of "Pee-wee's Playhouse" and the two Pee-wee Herman movies are today.
Paul Reubens first found fame with his Pee-wee Herman persona with a live stage version filmed for HBO in 1981. Four years later he collaborated with Tim Burton for "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" before bringing Pee-wee to Saturday morning TV with "Pee-wee's Playhouse" from 1986 to 1991.
Despite a couple speed bumps that derailed his career, Reubens, who turns 62 on Aug. 27, 2014, has seen a recent resurgence, including a successful run of "The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway" in 2010, which was recorded for an HBO special released in March 2011.
Although most of Reubens' recent credits have been in the role of Pee-wee, he can occasionally be spotted out of character, as in the 2009 dramedy "Life During Wartime." He also voiced "Jokey Smurf" in 2011's "The Smurfs" and its 2013 sequel.
Lynne Marie Stewart, whose previous credits included a role in "American Graffiti" and recurring characters on "M*A*S*H" and "Laverne & Shirley," played Miss Yvonne, "the most beautiful woman in Puppetland" who had a fondness for bouffant hair and gaudy dresses.
Stewart, now 67, reprised the role of Miss Yvonne for "The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway" in 2010.
Stewart can also occasionally be seen playing the role of "Charlie's Mom" on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" (pictured on the right) and recently had a role in the comedy "Bridesmaids."
John Paragon, who played Jambi the genie and also voiced the puppet Pterri the Pterrodactyl, also wrote for the show, as he did for the 1981 live stage version of "The Pee-wee Herman Show" that launched the character.
Paragon, who got his start in the Los Angeles-based improvisation group The Groundlings alongside Reubens and Phil Hartman, returned to the role of Jambi in 2010 for "The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway." He's also had minor roles in "UHF," "Cheers" and "Seinfeld" over the years.
Cowboy Curtis was a recurring character on "Pee-wee's Playhouse," and he was played by none other than Laurence Fishburne.
Fishburne has gone on to appear in such movies as "Boyz n the Hood," "The Matrix" movies and "What's Love Got to Do with It," earning an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Ike Turner. Fishburne also replaced William Petersen as the central character on "CSI" in 2008, but opted to leave the show in 2011 to return to movies and theater. He's since appeared in the 2011 movie "Contagion," played Perry White in 2013's "Man of Steel," and had minor roles in 2014's "Ride Along" and "The Signal." He's also a regular on the NBC drama "Hannibal."
S. Epatha Merkerson played "Reba the Mail Woman" on "Pee-wee's Playhouse." The actress went on to appear in movies such as "Terminator 2," "Radio" and "Black Snake Moan," but is best known as Lt. Anita Van Buren from "Law & Order." More recently, she's had minor roles in the TV series "The Good Wife" and "Deception" and appeared in the movies "Lincoln" and "Peeples."
Phil Hartman played Captain Carl, originating the role in the live stage version and continuing it on the show. Hartman, who went on to be a "Saturday Night Live" star, died at age 49 on May 28, 1998, shot by his wife who then shot and killed herself.
The King of Cartoons was originally played by Gilbert Lewis, but William H. Marshall, best known for playing "Blacula" in the 1970s, replaced him after the first season. Marshall died in 2003 at the age of 78.
One of Jimmy Smits' first roles was that of a repairman who comes to fix the robot Conky in a 1989 episode titled "Conky's Breakdown."
Smits went on to fame with the TV series "L.A. Law," "NYPD Blue" and "The West Wing." He also played serial killer Dexter Morgan's sidekick during the third season of "Dexter." His legal drama "Outlaw" (pictured), was canceled after seven episodes in 2010, but he joined the cast of "Sons of Anarchy" as high-level pimp Nero Padilla in 2012.
A young Natasha Lyonne appeared in the first season of the show as Opal, one of three kids known as "The Playhouse Gang." Lyonne went on to star in such movies as "Slums of Beverly Hills," "Detroit Rock City" and the first two "American Pie" movies. Her recent credits include a brief reprisal of her "American Pie" character in 2012's "American Reunion" and indie movies such as 2013's "G.B.F.," "Clutter," "7E" and "Loitering with Intent." Since 2013, she's been a regular on the Netflix sitcom "Orange is the New Black."
Elizabeth Ann Guttman, better known by her stage name of E.G. Daily, played Dottie in 1985's "Pee-wee's Big Adventure." Guttman, now 52, is also known for her voiceover work, including as the characters Tommy Pickles in "Rugrats," Buttercup in "The Powerpuff Girls," the titular role in "Babe: Pig in the City," and Baby Mumbles in "Happy Feet."
Mark Holton played Pee-wee's nemesis Francis Buxton in "Pee-wee's Big Adventure." Holton, who went on to play Chubby in "Teen Wolf" and appear opposite Jennifer Anniston in "Leprechaun," also has had cameo roles in "The Naked Gun," "My Life" and "Little Giants." His most recent role came in the 2008 direct-to-video horror movie "The Thirst: Blood War."
James Brolin and Morgan Fairchild had memorable cameos in "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" as versions of Pee-wee and Dottie in a movie based on Pee-wee's adventure to retrieve his stolen bike.
Brolin, seen here with wife Barbra Streisand, is best known for his TV roles on "Marcus Welby, M.D." and "Hotel" as well as movie roles such as "Capricorn One" and "The Amityville Horror." His recent credits include the Jeremy Piven comedy "The Goods" and the 2010 movie "Burlesque" along with cameos on the TV shows "Blackout," "Castle" and "Community."
Fairchild, best known for her TV work in shows such as "Flamingo Road," "Falcon Crest" and "North and South," has made recent cameos in TV series such as "Chuck" (pictured), "Bones," "Revenge" and "Hot in Cleveland."
Penelope Ann Miller played Pee-wee's fiancee Winnie Johnson in the 1988 sequel movie "Big Top Pee-wee."
Miller went on to appear in such movies as "The Freshman," "Awakenings," "Kindergarten Cop," "Chaplin" and "Carlito's Way." Among her more recent credits was a recurring role on the TNT drama "Men of a Certain Age" (pictured), a role in the 2011 Best Picture Oscar-winner "The Artist," and a regular on the ABC drama "Mistresses."
Valeria Golino played trapeze artist Gina Piccolapupula in "Big Top Pee-wee," the same year she appeared opposite Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman in "Rain Man."
Golino, whose other most famous role came in the "Top Gun" spoof "Hot Shots," now mostly appears in movies in her home country of Italy. She's seen here in March 2015.
"Big Top Pee-wee" featured the movie debut of Benicio del Toro, who played "Duke the Dog-Faced Boy."
Del Toro broke out with 1995's "Usual Suspects" and won an Oscar for his role in 2000's "Traffic." His other film credits include "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "21 Grams," which earned him another Oscar nomination, "Snatch," "Sin City," The Wolfman" and "Savages."
While the child stars whose careers fade seem to get most of the press, plenty of young actors have managed to stay successful into adulthood, including Anna Paquin, who is celebrating her 33rd birthday on Friday.