Life Story

HBO Planning New Documentary About Paul Reubens

The two-part series documentary will shine a light on Reubens, who created the beloved character Pee-wee Herman.

By Megan McDonald and Robert Plunket March 12, 2021

Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman.

Image: Brian Solis

One of Sarasota's most famous residents will be getting the documentary treatment from HBO, Deadline reported this week. Paul Reubens will be the focus a two-part project that traces the life of the notoriously private actor and his meteoric rise to fame as beloved children's TV personality Pee-wee Herman.

“I’ve been working with HBO since they were called Home Box Office,” Reubens told Deadline. “I’m honored and excited to continue my long history there. I love HBO, but I’m not going to marry them.”

Reubens' success as Pee-wee Herman was astonishing. It started with the appearances with an underground comedy troupe in L.A. in the late ’70s, then went on to the night-club act that HBO picked up as “The Pee-wee Herman Show” in 1982. Then came two movies, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and Big Top Pee-wee, “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” with its 16 Emmys, and the covers of Life and Rolling Stone. Football players did the Pee-wee dance after scoring a touchdown. By the end of the ’80s, an incredible 96 percent of all Americans recognized Pee-wee’s name. In 2016, after years out of the spotlight and a 1991 arrest for indecent exposure at a Sarasota movie theater, Reubens donned the famous gray Pee-wee suit again for Netflix's Pee-wee's Big Holiday, produced by Judd Apatow.

The HBO film is the first one to tell the story of his life. We'll keep you posted as more details are made public.

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