Aug. 27, 2012 at 9:16 AM ET
Ready for the secret word, kids? It's "birthday!" Comedian Paul Reubens -- aka Pee-wee Herman -- turns 60 today.
Between 1981 and 1990, Reubens' character, invented during a 1978 improvisation exercise, starred in "The Pee-wee Herman Show," Pee-wee's Playhouse," and "Pee-wee's Big Adventure," Tim Burton's first feature film. He was surreal, hilarious, literal and like a five-year-old trapped in a man's body.
Pee-wee wasn't Reubens' only shot in the spotlight; after the end of the shows (and the temporary retirement of the character) following his infamous 1991 adult-theater arrest, he appeared (not as Pee-wee) in films like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Blow," and on TV shows like "Murphy Brown." A second arrest -- for owning pornography -- slowed things down in 2002. But Reubens keeps fighting for his career, and in the late 2000s gave Pee-wee a second life with a short on Funny or Die in 2009, and a Broadway appearance in 2010.
It seems that no matter how old Reubens gets, Pee-wee will remain forever young. That's your name, and we won't wear it out. Happy birthday, Paul Reubens!
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