John Paragon (Jambi on ‘Pee-wee’s Playhouse’), RIP

John Paragon, the actor and writer who played Jambi the genie on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, has died. News of his death only broke Thursday night, but the Riverside County Coroner told TMZ that Paragon died in April. No cause of death has been reported. He was 66.

Like Paul Reubens and Phil Hartman, John was a member of L.A.’s influential The Groundlings improvisational group in the late-’70s, which is where the Pee-Wee Herman character was born. In addition to playing Jambi — known for his magic words “Meka leka hi meka hiney ho” — John also voiced Pterri the Pterodactyl, and he co-wrote the original Pee-wee Herman Show that ran at The Groundlings. That show was filmed for an 1981 HBO special, which led to movie Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and the Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Saturday morning series. He wrote a number of Playhouse episodes and also co-wrote the Emmy-nominated Pee-wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special.

John, you’ll be missed. Rest in peace, and meka leka hi meka hiney ho.

Watch some clips of Jambi and Pterri below.