John Paragon, the veteran actor who played the blue-faced genius Jambi in “Pee-wee’s Playhouse”, has passed away. He was 66 years old.
Paragon died in April, although the cause of death has not been revealed, according to the Coroner’s office in Riverside County, Calif., Confirmed TMZ.
From 1986 to 1991, Paragon appeared on Emmy-nominated “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” as Jambi the Genius, whose painted blue face and ornate red turban were disembodied in a dazzling box, which was prompted to appear. open anytime Pee-wee Herman (Paul Ruebens) also wanted to make a wish. And with every wish, Jambi chanted the iconic magic words: “Meka try salut meka hiney to. »
Born in Anchorage, Alaska in 1954, Paragon made his leap as a member of the groundbreaking Groundlings Improv Group – and in recent years he has “worked with Walt Disney Imagineering on ways to incorporate improvisational performances. in the attractions of Disney parks, ”according to his official biography.
Paragon also voiced the recurring character in Pterri the Pterodactyl’s “Pee-wee” – and when he wasn’t acting in “Playhouse,” he was known to have written several episodes alongside Reubens, including “Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special ”in 1988, which earned the series an Emmy nomination for Best Screenplay in a Children’s Special.
That same year, he co-wrote “Elvira: Mistress of the Dark” with Elvira herself, aka Cassandra Peterson, a Groundlings veteran.
Paragon also appeared in a number of feature films during the 1980s, including “The Frog Prince” (1986), “UHF” by Weird Al Yankovic (1989) and the cult classic of cannibalism “Eating Raoul” (1982). , and was later seen making cameos on “Seinfeld.”
Former Paragon colleagues, friends and fans have taken to social media to remember the inimitable comedian.
” I’m so sad. This is terrible news ”, wrote former “Saturday Night Live” star Julia Sweeney. “I didn’t know him well, but I admired him a lot and he was deeply loved by so many people I know well. So many laughs. Sad for the Groundlings. Sad for the comedy. Very sad day. RIP John Paragon. “
Despite signing to “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” three decades ago, the Jambi legend continues to live with children today.
Said a proud parent, “After spending almost a year teaching my #PeeWeesPlayhouse obsessed child inside a Jambi box – I’m very in tears after hearing of John Paragon’s passing. Jambi (and Pterri) have been incredible forces in our lives and we will always love them!
“Mad TV” actor and comedian Phil LaMarr added that he was “shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of the incredibly talented John Paragon.”
“Ramon Azteca, Jambi the Genie, Mr. Excitement, The Breather, The Paragon of Comedy, Groundling, improviser, writer, performer, producer, he did it all – and brilliantly. ” LaMarr a conclu.
As Paragon’s most famous character would say: “Long live Jambi!