Paul Reubens Net Worth

Paul Reubens: A Look Into the Financial Success of a Cult Icon

Paul Reubens, known widely for his alter ego “Pee-wee Herman,” has held a unique and enduring place in American pop culture. Born on August 27, 1952, in Peekskill, New York, Reubens has crafted a career that has spanned decades, creating a character that resonates with both children and adults alike.

Early Life and Career

Reubens began his career as an improvisational comedian and stage actor, notably as a member of the Los Angeles-based comedy troupe The Groundlings. It was here that he created his iconic character, Pee-wee Herman, a child-like man known for his grey suit, red bow tie, and infectious laugh.

His big break came in 1981 with the successful stage show “The Pee-wee Herman Show,” which HBO subsequently adapted into a special. This success led to the 1985 cult classic film “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” directed by Tim Burton, which further propelled the character into the mainstream.

The CBS Saturday morning children’s program “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” (1986-1991) followed, earning critical acclaim and significant viewership, as well as multiple Emmy Awards.

Accumulation of Wealth

As of 2023, Paul Reubens is estimated to have a net worth of $5 million. While not as extravagant as some other Hollywood figures, it’s important to remember that Reubens has focused primarily on one character throughout his career, making this a notable achievement.

The bulk of his earnings can be traced back to his Pee-wee Herman franchise. This includes the earnings from his successful television show, “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” and the subsequent films, “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” “Big Top Pee-wee,” and “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.”

Reubens also earned income from acting roles outside of his Pee-wee persona. He’s had notable parts in films such as “Batman Returns” (1992), “Mystery Men” (1999), and “Blow” (2001), as well as numerous television appearances.

While not known for endorsement deals, Reubens has capitalized on his Pee-wee character through merchandising over the years, including dolls, clothing, and other memorabilia.

Property and Lifestyle

Reubens leads a relatively private lifestyle, with much of his personal life kept away from the public eye. He owns a home in Los Angeles, California.

When comparing Reubens to other celebrities in a similar space, his net worth stands comfortably. For instance, Mark Mothersbaugh, the Devo co-founder who, like Reubens, found success in children’s television (Nickelodeon’s “Rugrats”), has a comparable net worth.

Philanthropy and Impact

In terms of philanthropy, Reubens prefers to keep his charitable works private. However, he has been involved in public causes in the past, such as participating in charity auctions for organizations like Operation Smile.

What is Paul Reubens’ Net Worth and Salary?

Paul Reubens, also known by his character/alter ego, “Pee-Wee Herman”, is an American comedian, actor and television personality who has a net worth of $5 million dollars. He is best known for appearing in a television show, live performances and movies as Pee-Wee Herman but has enjoyed a fairly successful career outside of that character as well.

Richest Celebrities › Richest Comedians
Net Worth:
$5 Million
Date of Birth:
Aug 27, 1952 (70 years old)
Place of Birth:
5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Comedian, Actor, Voice Actor, Screenwriter, Television producer, Television Director, Film Producer, Game Show Host
United States of America

💰 Compare Paul Reubens’ Net Worth

Early Life

Paul Reubens, was born Paul Rubenfeld in Peekskill, New York, on August 27, 1952. His parents, Judy (née Rosen) and Milton Rubenfeld, owned a lamp store in Sarasota, Florida, where he was raised with his two younger siblings, Abby and Luke. His father, Milton, had previously been an automobile salesman, and had also flown for the British Royal Air Force and the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II, and was a founding pilot of the Israeli Air Force. During his childhood, Reubens spent a lot of time in going to circus shows of the Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey Circus, as their winter headquarters were located in Sarasota, Florida. This early exposure to the circus sparked his interest in entertainment, and was influential on his own entertaining style.

He was a student at Sarasota High School, where he highly active in the theater and served as the president of the National Thespian Society. He was accepted into the summer program for gifted high-school students at Northwestern University. He attended college at Boston University, and auditioned for multiple acting schools. Eventually, after rejections from schools including Juilliard and Carnegie-Mellon, he moved to California to attended the California Institute of the Arts. While at school, he worked in restaurant kitchens and as a Fuller Brush salesman, and also performed at local comedy clubs in the 1970s. He was a member of the Los Angeles improvisational comedy team The Groundlings for six years.

Early Pee-Wee Herman

The character “Pee-Wee Herman” was created during a 1978 improvisational session with The Groundlings. He is based on the idea of a man who wants to become a comic, but is so bad at telling jokes that it is obvious to everyone that he is never going to succeed. He adopted Pee-Wee’s signature way of speaking in 1970, when Reubens was in a production of “Life with Father” and was cast as extremely obnoxious character. The name “Pee-Wee” came from the Pee Wee brand harmonica, and the name “Herman” is the name of a boy Reubens knew growing up.

Television Success

Initially, Reubens had auditioned for the 1980-1981 season of “Saturday Night Live”, but Gilbert Gottfried, who had a similar acting style and was close friends with a producer of the show, got cast instead. Bitter about the rejection, Reubens borrowed money and started his own show in Los Angeles based on the Pee-Wee Herman character. He was supported by other Groundlings, like John Paragon, Phil Hartman, and Lynne Marie Stewart. “The Pee-Wee Herman Show” ran for five sellout months at The Roxy Theatre; he performed midnight shows for adults, and matinee shows for children. HBO helped him take his show mainstream, airing “The Pee-Wee Herman Show” in 1981 as part of their “On Location” series. As the popularity of Pee-Wee grew, Reubens began making all public appearances and interviews in character, and billing the character as Pee-Wee himself rather than his real name, with the goal to “get the public to think that that was a real person.” Further appearances on shows like “Late Night with David Letterman” in the mid-1980s as Pee-Wee, as well as taking “The Pee-Wee Herman Show” on the road and performing around the country, helped to increase his fame and success.

Film Success

Based on the success and popularity of “The Pee-Wee Herman Show”, Warner Bros. decided to get Reubens to write a full-length Pee-Wee Herman film. “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” (1985) follows Pee-Wee as he goes on a nationwide journey to recover his stolen bike. Reubens and the movie’s producers chose Tim Burton to direct the film after they saw his work on “Vincent” (1982) and “Frankenweenie” (1984). The movie was a massive success, grossing over $40 million domestically against it’s modest $7 million budget. Despite mixed critical reviews, the show has gone on to achieve cult film status. In 1986, CBS approached Reubens to create his own live-action children’s program. He was not only an actor on the program, but also produced and directed the series. “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” aired from 1986 to 1990, and had a budget of $325,000 per episode. Although it was targeted towards kids, many adults also enjoyed it as well.

1991 Arrest and Other Work

His career had a terrible setback in 1991 when he was arrested in Florida and charged with indecent exposure. The scandal soiled his squeaky-clean image and CBS dropped reruns of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse from its lineup. He also tried to resuscitate his acting career by appearing in such films as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1992), “Matilda” (1996), “Mystery Men” (1999) and “Blow” (2001). He subsequently landed a recurring role on the popular sitcom “Murphy Brown”. In recent years, he brought his popular character to Broadway in 2010, starring in “The Pee-Wee Herman Show”. He made his debut as the voice of Jokey in the popular family comedy “The Smurfs” the following year, and worked on its 2013 sequel as well.

Personal Life

In addition to his 1991 arrest, Herman was arrested in 1971 for loitering and prowling (charges were dropped). In 1983, he was placed on probation for two years due to possession of marijuana. And, in 2002, he was arrested and charged with possession of obscene material improperly depicting a child under the age of 18 in sexual conduct. He maintained his innocence, saying that the alleged pornography materials discovered in his home were, instead, part of his vintage erotica collection.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.

Leave a Comment