Let us all say a prayer for Jambi: Meka leka hi meka hiney ho.
John Paragon, the veteran actor who played the blue-faced genie Jambi on “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” has died. He was 66.
Paragon passed away in April, although the cause of death has not been revealed, according to the coroner’s office in Riverside County, California, TMZ confirmed.
From 1986 to 1991, Paragon appeared on the Emmy-nominated “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” as Jambi the Genie, whose painted blue face and ornamented red turban sat disembodied in a bedazzled box, which was prompted to open anytime Pee-wee Herman (Paul Ruebens) wanted too make a wish. And with each wish, Jambi would chant the iconic magic words: “Meka leka hi meka hiney ho.”
Paragon also voiced the recurring character of Pterri the Pterodactyl — and when he wasn’t acting on “Playhouse” he was known to have written several episodes alongside Reubens, including the “Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special” in 1988, which won the series an Emmy nomination for Best Writing in a Children’s Special.
Paragon also appeared in a number of films through the 1980s, including “The Frog Prince” (1986) and the cult cannibalism classic “Eating Raoul” (1982), and was later seen making cameos on “Seinfeld.”
Born in Anchorage, Alaska in 1954, Paragon got his big break as a member of the groundbreaking Groundlings Improv Group — and in recent years he “worked with Walt Disney Imagineering on ways to incorporate improvisational performance into attractions at Disney parks,” according to his official bio.