Pee-Wee’s Playhouse star John Paragon has passed away. 

By Katie Campione

According to TMZ, an official at the Riverside County Coroner reported that Paragon passed back in April of 2021, but his death only became widely known on Thursday night.

The cause of death was “Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease with other significant conditions of chronic alcohol abuse.”

John Kisch Archive/Getty Images

Paragon famously played the role of Jambi the Genie on the beloved 1980s children’s sitcom Pee-wee’s Playhouse.  

The actor made his TV debut in 1981 on The Pee-wee Herman Show, a stage show developed by Paul Reubens, whom Paragon had met while performing improv with the Los Angeles-based group The Groundlings.

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

Aside from his work in the Pee-Wee Herman universe, John has lent his acting chops to hit sitcoms like Cheers and Seinfeld.

His other film credits include Honey I Blew Up the Kid, Echo Park, and The Frog Prince.

More recently, Paragon worked with Walt Disney Imagineering to find ways to incorporate improv performances into attractions at the theme parks, according to his biography on The Groundlings’ website.




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