John Paragon, ‘Pee-wee’s Playhouse’ star, dead at 66

John Paragon, the actor who portrayed Jambi the Genie on “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” has died. He was 66.

An official at the Riverside County Coroner in California confirmed to Fox News that Paragon died back on April 3 in Palm Springs. His cause of death has not been revealed.

Paragon reportedly got his start in the acting industry at The Groundlings, a theater school in Hollywood where he performed improv alongside Phil Hartman, Paul Reubens and Cassandra Peterson. 

 His death was first reported by TMZ. The Groundlings reacted to his death on Twitter on Thursday, writing, “R.I.P. John Paragon.”

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He made his debut on television in “The Pee-wee Herman Show,” which was created in 1980. Beginning in 1986, Paragon reprised his role as Jambi the Genie in “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” which ended in 1990. According to Yahoo, Paragon also wrote and directed multiple episodes of the kids’ series.

Paragon also portrayed the memorable role in “Pee-wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special” in 1988. He won an Emmy nomination for best writing in a children’s special, according to the outlet.

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Two decades after “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” ended, Paragon portrayed the genie on stage in an adaptation of “Pee-wee Herman.”

But the genie wasn’t the only role Paragon held throughout his career. He starred in several TV shows on including “Cheers,” “Seinfeld,” “Pacific Blue,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” and “Elvira’s Movie Macabre.” 

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Paragon also had a recurring role in “The Breather.” As for his presence on the big screen, the actor appeared in “Honey I Blew Up the Kid,” “The Frog Prince,” “Echo Park” and “Airplane II: The Sequel.”

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