As Pee-wee Herman, he appeared in the films Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985) and Big Top Pee-wee (1988), as well as the Saturday-morning television series Pee-wee's Playhouse. In 1986, he was the voice of Max, the robotic controller of an alien spacecraft in the children's science fiction film Flight of the Navigator. For that role, he was credited as Paul Mall.
In 1987, Reubens provided the voice for RX-24, the RX pilot droid featured in the Star Tours ride at various Disney theme parks. While the ride was still in operation, Reubens' voice could be heard as "Rex." Rex makes a minor appearance in Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, using archive audio.
The Pee-wee Herman character was retired for more than 18 years in 1991, after an arrest for indecent exposure led to Pee-wee's Playhouse being taken off the air. (It should be noted that, in return for a fine and a few public-service announcements, he was not given a criminal record.) Since then, he has made several film appearances, credited as himself. In the 1990s and 2000s, he played roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Mystery Men, and Blow.
In 2002, Reubens was arrested again for possession of child pornography. These charges were later dropped, though he pled guilty to a separate, lesser charge of misdemeanor obscenity.
Paul Reubens took Pee-wee out of retirement in 2009 for a wildly successful stage show on Broadway, The Pee-wee Herman Show, which debuted November 11, 2010 with $3,000,000 USD in advanced ticket sales. Presently Reubens is working on a third Pee-wee Herman feature film.