Yesterday it was revealed that John Paragon, who played the role of Jambi the genie on Pee-Wee's Playhouse, passed away at the age of 66. Paragon actually passed away in April, but the news of his passing was revealed yesterday. Paragon played the role of Jambi the genie on the original stage show with Paul Reubens, and the two would go on to work together on Pee-Wee's Playhouse and Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special. Today Reubens released a touching tribute to his friend and co-star on the Pee-Wee website, revealing how he met Paragon and their journey with the series that would go on to become a classic, and you can read the full post below.
"I met John Paragon, Jambi the genie on Pee-wee’s Playhouse, at the improvisational comedy group The Groundlings, where both our careers started. He was sly and wickedly funny. We became best friends instantly. In a group of exceptionally talented and funny people, he stuck out. Stood out.
He contributed so heavily to my success. Over decades, we performed together, wrote together and hung out together. In our affection for one another (and our competitiveness), we made each other funnier. We felt magical together, and I think sometimes that translated into the work we created.
When The Pee-wee Herman Show was born, John had an idea about being a magic genie. A day later, he and I were driving along Hollywood Boulevard when I looked over and saw a sign for a sandwich shop named ‘Jambi’s’.
From the time we were both starting out, through my success and fame as Pee-wee Herman, John was my closest friend. 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.
Mekka Lekka Hi, Mekka Hiney Ho, John. Long live Jambi.
Jambi the Genie would appear in a purple and red box that featured a host of jewels, and he would pop up when Pee-wee made a wish for something. Jambi was instantly recognizable le with his blue makeup, red lips, and red and gold turban, though he also voiced Pterri the Pterodactyl during his time on the series.0comments
He would also be featured in shows like Cheers, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Seinfeld, Harry and the Hendersons, Movie Macabre, and more throughout his career, and most recently he was working with Walt Disney Imagineering to create ideas for their Disney theme park improv performances.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.