Paul Reubens was born Paul Rubenfeld on August 27, 1952 in Peekskill, New York, to Judy (Rosen), a teacher, and Milton Rubenfeld, a car salesman who had flown for the air forces of the U.S.
Paul Reubens was born Paul Rubenfeld on August 27, 1952 in Peekskill, New York, to Judy (Rosen), a teacher, and Milton Rubenfeld, a car salesman who had flown for the air forces of the U.S., U.K., and Israel, becoming one of the latter countrys pioneering pilots. Paul grew up in Sarasota, Florida, where his parents owned a lamp store. During winters, The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus called Sarasota home, and young Paul counted such big-top families as the Wallendas and the Zacchinis among his neighbors. When he was 11-years-old, he joined the local Asolo Theater, and during the next six years, he appeared in a variety of plays. After graduating from Sarasota High School in 1970, he attended Boston University for one year before deciding to seek his fortune as Paul Reubens in Hollywood, where he enrolled as an acting major at the California Institute of the Arts and accepted a string of pay-the-rent jobs ranging from pizza chef to Fuller Brush salesman. In the mid 1970s, his acting career grew slowly and steadily with small roles in theater productions, gigs at local comedy clubs and four guest appearances on The Gong Show (1976). During this time of education/employment, he joined an improvisational comedy troupe called The Groundlings. The popular gang of yuksters, whose roster has included Conan OBrien, Lisa Kudrow, the late Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, and Julia Sweeney, wrung laughs from audiences with skits starring scads of imaginative, self-created characters.