Paul Reubens, who is best known as Pee Wee Herman, will be returning to the screen during Gotham’s second season. In 1992, Reubens played the role of Penguin’s father, Tucker Cobblepot, in the hit film Batman Returns. He has now confirmed he will reprise the role in the popular Fox television series.
— Jeff’s Reel Café (@jeffmacesin) October 12, 2015
As reported by Comic Vine, Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, AKA Penguin, was born with several distinct birth defects. As a result, he faced immediate rejection from both parents, who were disappointed that Oswald was not a “normal child.” In the original comic books, Oswald is raised at home.
However, he experiences severe emotional and physical abuse at the hands of both parents and his siblings. When he began attending school, the young man was also rejected and abused by his classmates.
In addition to the harassment, the children gave Oswald a cruel nickname — as they believed he resembled a bird. Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot was initially dismayed with the nickname Penguin. However, as he developed a strong relationship with the flock of birds, he later “embraced his moniker… because even though penguins are clumsy creatures in an environment that isn’t their own, they are adaptable to new surroundings and… a penguin’s retribution can be swift as well as decisive.”
In the film Batman Returns, Oswald was abandoned by his parents as an infant. As he is rescued and raised by a flock of penguins, he later develops characteristics similar to the fascinating, and often cruel, birds.
Although he did not receive any awards or nominations for his role as Penguin’s father, Paul Reubens’ portrayal of the character was genuinely chilling — and a far cry from his Pee Wee Herman persona.
Paul Reubens will be the Penguin’s father once more in Gotham plus Season 2 sizzle reel here http://t.co/jGsqGjclyG pic.twitter.com/S0XrLFkGoo
— Phil Edwards (@Live_for_Films) October 12, 2015
A native of New York, Paul Rubenfeld attended Sarasota High School and Plymouth State University. Inspired by The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, Rubenfeld dropped out of college and moved to Hollywood to pursue a career in entertainment.
As reported by Biography, Rubenfeld changed his last name to Reubens after arriving in California.
In an attempt to further his career as an actor, he attended classes at the California Institute of the Arts and later joined The Groundlings improv group.
In the 1970s, Paul Reubens developed the character Pee Wee Herman, who is described as “an innocent man-boy who enjoyed playing tricks on his friends” and wears a “signature gray suit, small red bow tie, [and] slicked back hair.”
— Dawn of the Dead (@PsycheDK) October 11, 2015
Reubens debuted the unusual character while performing live shows with The Groundlings. However, his act was later turned into a television program — which aired on HBO.
In 1985, the diverse actor made his big screen debut with a movie featuring Pee-Wee Herman. Although Tim Burton clearly took a risk with Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, the film was a great success.
In addition to introducing Pee-Wee Herman to a broader audience, the film led to a contract with CBS.
From 1986 to 1991, Paul Reubens starred in the hit children’s program Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Although the character was atypical, the program was well received by audiences and was critically acclaimed.
Reubens’ career as the host of a children’s program came to an abrupt halt in 1991, when he was arrested for indecent exposure. In addition to intense public ridicule, the actor’s program and contract were cancelled by CBS.
Although he had numerous minor roles in the last 20 years, the actor’s career never fully recovered from the scandal.
As reported by USA Today, the announcement that Paul Reubens would be reprising his role as Penguin’s father was made during the 2015 New York Comic Con. The news was later confirmed by Robin Lord Taylor, who plays Penguin in the hit television series.
[Image via Jamie McCarthy/NBC/Getty Images for ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’]