John Paragon, Jambi the Genie on Pee-wee's Playhouse , dies at 66

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Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty John Paragon

John Paragon, the actor and comedian best known for playing the wise-cracking Jambi the Genie on Pee-wee's Playhouse, has died at 66. TMZ reported that he passed away in April from unknown causes.

Born in Alaska, Paragon's career kicked off with the comedy troupe The Groundlings, where he performed alongside comedy greats such as Paul Reubens, Phil Hartman and Cassandra Peterson aka Elvira. "R.I.P. John Paragon," the Groundlings social media account tweeted when news of his death broke on Thursday.

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Paragon worked alongside Reubens to help develop The Pee-wee Herman Show for the stage, playing the role of Jambi The Genie. He made his TV debut as Jambi when the show was brought to CBS as Pee-wee's Playhouse and later reprised his role in Broadway adaptation of Reuben's show in 2010. In addition to his portrayal of Jambi, Paragon voiced the character of Pterri the pterodactyl and wrote and directed several episodes of the children's show, including Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special - which earned Paragon an Emmy nomination for Best Writing in a Children's Special.

Paragon's TV credits include Cheers, Seinfeld, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He also appeared in films such as Airplane II: The Sequel and Honey, I Blew Up the Kid.

According to TMZ, he recently worked for Disney, where he was working as an Imagineer helping develop improv routines for performers.

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