“Pee-wee’s Playhouse” star John Paragon has died at the age of 66.
The actor best known for his role as blue-faced Jambi the Genie on the children’s TV series passed at his home in Palm Springs, California, on April 3.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department made details of Paragon’s death public on Friday. The cause of death was determined to be from “atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease with other significant conditions of chronic alcohol abuse,” according to coroner Chad Bianco.
Born in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1954, Paragon’s first taste of the entertainment industry came in the 1970s as part of the Los Angeles-based improv group The Groundlings.
Paragon starred in 1981 with fellow Groundling Paul Reubens in “The Pee-wee Herman Show” and then the subsequent children’s show, “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” which ran from 1986 to 1990.
Of his 46 acting credits, Paragon had a recurring role as Cedric on “Seinfeld” and appeared in “UHF,” “Cheers,” “The Elvira Show” and “Elvira’s Movie Macabre.”
Reubens (aka Pee-wee Herman) paid tribute to his former collaborator in a lengthy statement on his website Friday, describing Paragon as “sly and wickedly funny” and crediting him with contributing “so heavily to my success.”
“From the time we were both starting out, through my success and fame as Pee-wee Herman, John was my closest friend,” he wrote. “And through all of those years, we had huge amounts of fun and laughed our asses off together. I really loved him. Rest In Peace, John. I was lucky to know you so deeply.”
Other friends, fans and former colleagues also paid tribute to the actor:
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