John Paragon, 'Pee-wee's Playhouse' Star, Dead at 66

John Paragon has died at age 66. The Pee-wee’s Playhouse actor died on April 3 in his Palm Springs, California, home, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department confirms to ET.

Paragon’s cause of death was Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease with other significant conditions of Chronic Alcohol Abuse, the Sheriff’s Department confirms.

Born in Alaska, Paragon got his start as a member of the Los Angeles comedy troupe The Groundlings. It was there he met Paul Reubens, who had developed the stage version of The Pee-wee Herman Show.

After working on the stage show, Paragon followed the project to TV, starring as Jambi the Genie on Pee-wee’s Playhouse from 1986 to 1990. He went on to direct and write several episode of the series, before appearing in its 2010 stage revival in Los Angels and on Broadway.

Over the years, Paragon went on to appear on TV shows including Seinfeld and Cheers. On the film side, he was seen in Honey, I Blew Up The Kid and Echo Park, among others.

Paragon also wrote the 1998 film Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, and went on to write and direct several of the franchise’s TV projects. Cassandra Peterson, who starred in Elvira‘s titular role, paid tribute to Paragon on Twitter.

“Lost someone that meant the world to me and was such a huge part of Elvira and my life that it’s impossible to express how sad I feel,” she wrote. “John Paragon, my writing partner of 27 years…my friend, my brother, my soul-mate. I will miss you and love you forever, Johnny #RIPJohnParagon.”

Lost someone that meant the world to me and was such a huge part of “Elvira” and my life that it’s impossible to express how sad I feel. John Paragon, my writing partner of 27 years…my friend, my brother, my soul-mate. I will miss you and love you forever, Johnny #RIPJohnParagonpic.twitter.com/ajz0nhIXLs

According to Paragon’s biography on The Groundlings’ website, in recent years he worked with Walt Disney Imagineering on ways to incorporate improvisational performance into attractions at Disney parks. 

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