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Actor John Paragon, Known for Role on Pee-wee 's Playhouse , Dies at 66

·2-min read

Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

Actor John Paragon, known best for his role as Jambi the Genie on Pee-wee's Playhouse, has died. He was 66.

Paragon died in April, the Riverside County Coroner's Office confirms to PEOPLE. His cause of death is not clear at this time.

A rep for Paragon did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment. 

The actor made his TV debut in 1981 on The Pee-wee Herman Show, a stage show developed by Paul Reubens, whom Paragon had met while performing improv with the Los Angeles-based group The Groundlings.

John Kisch Archive/Getty Images

Paragon then played the role of Jambi the Genie on Pee-wee's Playhouse from 1986 to 1990. He also wrote and directed several episodes of the children's show, including the 1988 Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special, which together earned him five Emmy nominations over the years.

In 2010, Paragon reprised the role of Jambi once again for the Broadway revival of the Pee-wee Herman stage show.

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On Thursday, The Groundlings retweeted a photo of the actor next to a poster of his character Jambi the Genie, writing "R.I.P John Paragon."

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Paragon also appeared in several other television shows, including Cheers, Seinfeld, and Elvira's Movie Macabre, on which he played the recurring role of "The Breather." He also co-write the film spinoff, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.

His other film credits include Honey I Blew Up the Kid, Echo Park, and The Frog Prince.

More recently, Paragon worked with Walt Disney Imagineering to find ways to incorporate improv performances into attractions at the theme parks, according to his biography on The Groundlings' website.

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