John Paragon, the actor best known for playing Jambi the Genius in Pee-wee’s Playhouse, has died aged 66.
According to TMZ, Paragon died in April, but the cause of death has yet to be determined by the Riverside County coroner.
Paragon made his debut in Los Angeles-based improv comedy group The Groundlings alongside future Pee-Wee star Herman Paul Reubens and Phil Hartman.
Although Paragon made a cameo appearance in the 1985 film Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, he will undoubtedly be remembered by fans for his recurring role as Jambi the Genius on the Saturday morning TV series Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Paragon also voiced the character of Pterri the Pterodactyl and wrote several episodes of the series, including Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special, which earned Paragon an Emmy nomination for Best Screenplay in a Children’s Special.
Outside of the Pee-wee Herman universe, Paragon had a recurring role in Seinfeld as half of Bob and Cedric, a hostile gay couple who appeared in memorable episodes such as “The Soup Nazi”, “The Sponge” and “The Puerto Rican Day.” He also played the main character in the 1986 children’s film The Frog Prince.
Later that year, Paragon collaborated with Elvira, worked with Walt Disney Imagineering, and reprized Jambi the Genie for a 2010 Broadway adaptation of the Pee-wee Herman show.