John Paragon

John Dixon Paragon (born December 9, 1954) is an American actor, writer, and director. He is best known as Jambi the Genie on Pee-wee's Playhouse.

John Paragon
John Dixon Paragon

(1954-12-09) December 9, 1954 (age 66)
OccupationActor, writer, director

Early lifeEdit

He was born in Anchorage, Alaska, but grew up and attended schools in Fort Collins, Colorado.


Paragon got his start in the Los Angeles-based improvisation group The Groundlings alongside Paul Reubens and Phil Hartman.

Paragon played Jambi the Genie on children's TV show Pee-wee's Playhouse. In addition to writing many of its regular season episodes, Paragon co-wrote (with Reubens) the Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special in 1988, for which they were nominated an Emmy Award for Best Writing in a Children's Special.

Paragon's other roles include Cedric, one half of the couple Bob and Cedric on the television series Seinfeld; the title character in the children's movie The Frog Prince; the sex shop salesman in Eating Raoul; and the owner of a Strip-o-gram business in the 1986 film Echo Park.

He collaborated with fellow Groundling Cassandra Peterson on numerous Elvira projects, including the recurring role of The Breather, an annoying caller, for her first television series on KHJ-TV-Los Angeles.

Paragon has worked with Walt Disney Imagineering on ways to incorporate improvisational performance into attractions at Disney parks. In this capacity, he performed as the keeper of Lucky the Dinosaur during the test runs of the animatronic figure.

Paragon returned to his performance as Jambi the Genie in the Broadway outing of the Pee-wee Herman stage show that began performances at the Stephen Sondheim Theater on October 26, 2010.



Year Name Director Writer Actor Role Notes
1980 Cheech and Chong's Next Movie Yes Director
1982 Eating Raoul Yes Sex Shop Salesman
Pandemonium Yes Prisoner
Things Are Tough All Over Yes Red Carpet Man #1
Airplane II: The Sequel Yes Economy' Flight Attendant
1983 Going Berserk Yes Rooster
1984 Uncensored Yes Various Direct-to-video
1985 Pee-wee's Big Adventure Yes Movie Lot Actor
Get Out of My Room Yes Robert Walters Direct-to-video mockumentary
1986 Echo Park Yes Hugo
The Frog Prince Yes Ribbit / Prince Of Freedly
1987 North Shore Yes Professor
1988 Elvira: Mistress of the Dark Yes Yes Gas Station Attendant
1989 UHF Yes Richard Fletcher
1992 Double Trouble Yes Yes FBI Agent
Honey I Blew Up the Kid Yes Lab Technician
1994 Every Breath Yes Director
Twin Sitters Yes Yes Yes Loan officer
1996 The Rich Man's Wife Yes Maitre D'
2001 Elvira's Haunted Hills Yes N/A
2006 Red Riding Hood Yes Fisherman
2016 Pee-wee's Big Holiday Yes TV Cameraman

Also production consultant direct-to-video ThrillerVideo (1985).


Year Name Director Writer Actor Role Notes
1981 The Pee-wee Herman Show Yes Yes Jambi / Pterri (voice) TV Movie
1981-2011 Elvira's Movie Macabre Yes Yes Breather TV Series, actor 6 episodes; writer 1 episode
1982 Madame's Place Yes Holistic doctor TV Series, 1 episode
1983 The Paragon of Comedy Yes Yes Various TV Movie
The 1/2 Hour Comedy Hour Yes Various TV Series
The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show Yes (voice) TV Series
1984 Last of the Great Survivors Yes Beef TV Movie
Cheeseball Presents Yes Yes Breather TV Movie
Welcome to the Fun Zone Yes Himself TV Movie
Elvira's MTV Halloween Party Yes Yes Breather TV Movie
1985 FTV Yes Various TV Series
1985-2011 Saturday Night Live Yes Yes Pterri (voice) TV Series, writer 1 episode + actor 1 episode
1986 Leo & Liz in Beverly Hills Yes Raddichio TV Series, 1 episode
1986-90 Pee-wee's Playhouse Yes Yes Yes Jambi / Pterri (voice) TV Series; actor 41 ep., writer 25; director 20
1987 Cheers Yes Grif Palmer TV Series, 1 episode
1988 Sledge Hammer! Yes Durward Monroe TV Series, 1 episode
The Cheech Show Yes N/A TV Movie
1991 On the Television Yes Various TV Series, 1 episode
1992 Ring of the Musketeers Yes Yes Yes Air Traffic Controller TV Movie
1993 The Elvira Show Yes Voice of 'Reinfield' TV Series
1995 Kirk Yes Ricky TV Series, 1 episode
1995-96 Night Stand Yes Bachelor #3 / Dr. Ed Burns TV Series, 5 episodes
1995-98 Seinfeld Yes Cedric TV Series, 3 episodes
1996 Renegade Yes N/A TV Series, 1 episode
1996-98 Silk Stalkings Yes N/A TV Series, 10 episodes
1997 Pacific Blue Yes N/A TV Series, 1 episode
1999 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Yes Bokar TV Series, episode "Prodigal Daughter"
Mega Babies Yes N/A TV Series, 2 episodes
2001 You Don't Know Jack Yes N/A TV Series, also consultant
2011 The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway Yes Yes Jambi / Pterri (voice) TV Movie
2014 13 Nights of Elvira Yes N/A TV Series, also producer and music supervisor

External linksEdit