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Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:
A bizarre, infantile character with short, slick hair, a gray, too-small suit, red bow tie, and white shoes, Pee-wee Herman debuted in 1978 as a member of the Groundlings comedy troupe in Los Angeles. Stand-up comedian Reubens (as he was now billed) continued to play the character in his act, while appearing in such movies as The Blues Brothers (1980), Cheech & Chong's Nice Dreams (1981), and Meatballs Part II (1984). A cable-TV special called "The Pee-wee Herman Show," a goony reincarnation of 1950's kiddie shows, brought the character national prominence, which in turn led to a big-screen starring vehicle, Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985) directed by Tim Burton. The film became a sleeper hit and spawned a sequel (1988's Big Top Pee-wee and a successful Saturday morning TV series-which turned out to be the perfect vehicle for his blend of childlike whimsy and subversive comedy. He vanished for a while in 1991 after being caught masturbating in a Florida porno theater, but returned to the big screen in two 1992 roles: as the Penguin's father in Tim Burton's Batman Returns and as a hissing vampire in Buffy the Vampire Slayer an effective and amusing performance. He also provided a voice for Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).