In Memoriam: 12 'Pee-wee's Big Adventure' Actors We’ve Said Au Revoir To In The Last 30 Years 

Share on Facebook
Tweet
Submit to Reddit
Email
In Memoriam 1 - Jan Hooks In Memoriam 2 - Phil Hartman In Memoriam 3 - Alice Nunn In Memoriam 4 - Jon Harris In Memoriam 5 - Ed Herlihy In Memoriam 6 - Toru Tanaka In Memoriam 7 - Carmen Filpi In Memoriam 8 - Simmy Bow In Memoriam 9 - Luis Contreras In Memoriam 10 - Irving Hellman In Memoriam 11 - Mark Everett In Memoriam 12 - Milton Berle
By Kiko Martinez
OF 12
PREV NEXT

Jan Hooks (Tina)

Tina the Alamo tour guide annoys Pee-wee with her ongoing Texas history lesson and gum mastication, but her sunny disposition and southern drawl makes it a memorable character for Hooks, who would go on to star on Saturday Night Live the following year. Hooks died last October from cancer at the age of 57. “She was really great in [Pee-wee’s Big Adventure],” SNL alum and ex-boyfriend Kevin Nealon told the Current the week of Hooks’ passing. “I don’t think anyone will run into someone like her again. She was one of a kind.”

Phil Hartman (Reporter)

Without actor/writer Hartman, there would be no Pee-wee Herman. He co-created the character with star Paul Reubens during their time in the improv comedy troupe The Groundlings in the late 70s. Hartman has a cameo scene in Big Adventure as a reporter interviewing Francis in the final scene at the drive-in. In May 1998, he was shot and killed by his wife while he slept. He was 49.

Alice Nunn (Large Marge)

Along with the clown surgeon scene, Nunn’s character Large Marge, a ghostly truck driver who gives Pee-wee a lift, provides the biggest scare of the movie via stop-motion animation. Nunn passed away in 1988 at the age of 60 after suffering a heart attack.

Jon Harris (Andy)

As Simone’s jealous and gargantuan boyfriend Andy, the 7’-plus Harris, who also wrestled professionally, chased Pee-wee around the rodeo grounds before coming face to face with an angry bull. Harris died in 2005 at the age of 52.

Ed Herlihy (Mr. Buxton)

Mr. Buxton was none too pleased when Pee-wee broke into his mansion and accused his son Francis of stealing his bike. Pee-wee gets his revenge by giving him a stick of spicy gum. Herlihy, who was the announcer on The Jack Parr Tonight Show, died of natural causes in 1999 at the age of 89.

Toru Tanaka (Butler)

Pee-wee pulls a fast one on the Buxton family’s butler when he comes to their mansion door looking for Francis. He later takes a big splash in Francis’ bathwater. Tanaka, who also played Subzero in The Running Man, passed away in 2000 from heart failure at the age of 70.

Carmen Filpi (Hobo Joe)

His rendition of “Jimmy Crack Corn” puts Pee-wee over the edge and sends him jumping off a moving train. Luckily for Pee-wee, he ends up landing right where he wanted – in San Antonio. Flipi, who also had small parts in Burton’s films Beetlejuice and Ed Wood, died in 2003 from cancer-related illnesses at the age of 80.

Simmy Bow (Man in Diner)

After Pee-wee tells the diner full of patrons, “Large Marge sent me,” this unnamed man in the diner explains to him that Large Marge died a decade prior. Bow died in 1987 at the age of 66 from complications from a stroke. His last film was Burton’s Beetlejuice where he played a deceased janitor.

Luis Contreras (Biker #2)

This biker with an eye patch suggests his gang, Satan’s Helpers, stab, tattoo, hang, then kill Pee-wee after he knocks over all their motorcycles outside the biker bar. Later, Biker #2 wishes Pee-wee good luck in finding his bike after he impresses them with his dancing. Contreras died of cancer in 2004 at the age of 53.

Irving Hellman (Mr. Crowtray)

Only a friendly neighbor would let Pee-wee water his lawn with such a crazy sprinkler. Hellmen died in 2000 at the age of 87.

Skip ad in

Mark Everett (BMX Kid)

He was one of the seven BMX bikers in Chuck’s Bike-O-Rama when Pee-wee comes in to pick up his horn from Dottie. He delivers the line, “Sure is gettin’ hot in here,” when Dottie tells Pee-wee hello. Born Manuel Benitez, Everett was killed in 2008 at the age of 39 after a gun battle with police in a Chinese restaurant in El Monte, California. He had been on the run from cops for four years for the murder of his wife and the abduction of his son, whom he held hostage during the standoff.

Milton Berle (himself)

Unknowingly helps Pee-wee sneak onto the Warner Bros. lot when he walks in with Berle’s entourage laughing at his jokes. Berle, known as “Mr. Television” during TV’s Golden Age, died of cancer in 2002 at the age of 93.

More slideshows
San Antonio Current Staff80 images
1/12

Jan Hooks (Tina)

Tina the Alamo tour guide annoys Pee-wee with her ongoing Texas history lesson and gum mastication, but her sunny disposition and southern drawl makes it a memorable character for Hooks, who would go on to star on Saturday Night Live the following year. Hooks died last October from cancer at the age of 57. “She was really great in [Pee-wee’s Big Adventure],” SNL alum and ex-boyfriend Kevin Nealon told the Current the week of Hooks’ passing. “I don’t think anyone will run into someone like her again. She was one of a kind.”