Monkees co-creator Bob Rafelson dies aged 89

Bob Rafelson, The Monkees co-creator who became an influential figure in the New Hollywood Era of the 1970s, has died aged 89.

afelson died at his home in Aspen on Saturday night surrounded by family, his wife, Gabrielle Taurek Rafelson, said.

Rafelson was responsible for co-creating the fictional pop group and television series The Monkees with the late Bert Schneider, for which he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1967.

But he is perhaps best known for his work during the New Hollywood era, which saw the classic studio system give way to a slew of rebellious young vocalists and a fresh new style of filmmaking. helped give birth to such talents as Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Spielberg.


Bob Rafelson has passed away in Aspen, Colorado (Alamy/AP)

Rafelson directed and co-wrote Five Easy Pieces, about an upper-class pianist yearning for a more classical life, and The King Of Marvin Gardens, about a late-night radio host bored.

Both films star Jack Nicholson and explore themes of the lost American dream. Five Easy Pieces earned Rafelson two Oscar nominations in 1971, for best picture and screenplay.

He also produces new Hollywood classics including Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show and Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider.

Coppola once called him “one of the most important film artists of his time” and his fans include Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson.

Rafelson was born in New York City and is distantly related to The Jazz Singer screenwriter Samson Raphaelson, whom he says is very interested in his work. At Dartmouth, he also became friends with legendary screenwriter Buck Henry.

He became interested in Japanese cinema and Yasujiro Ozu’s films, especially Tokyo Story, while serving in the US military in Japan.

After graduating from college, Rafelson married his high school sweetheart, who would work as a production designer on his films and others. He got his start in the television entertainment business, writing scripts for shows like The Witness and The Greatest Show on Earth.

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I might think I started his career but I think he started mineJack Nicholson

But The Monkees was his first major success. The idea for The Monkees, he said, predated The Beatles and the musical comedy A Hard Day’s Night, but it was a huge success when it premiered on NBC in 1966.

It ran for two years and allowed Rafelson to direct himself.

Monkees also appeared in the director’s directorial debut, Head, which will be the first of many collaborations with Nicholson.

“I might think I started his career but I think he started mine,” Nicholson told Esquire in 2019.

Rafelson is most proud of the 1990 film he directed, Mountains Of The Moon, a biopic that tells the story of two explorers, Sir Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke, as they search for the source of the Nile River. , his wife said.

Rafelson’s adventures to places like Morocco, India, Southeast Asia, Mexico and Guatemala have influenced his work, she said.

Ms Taurek Rafelson said: ‘He likes nothing more than disappearing into the strange pockets of the world.

Rafelson left Hollywood two decades ago to focus on raising two sons with Taurek Rafelson, Ethan and Harper, in Aspen.

He and his first wife, Toby Rafelson, also had two children, Peter and Julie, who died in 1973 when she was 10 years old. Monkees co-creator Bob Rafelson dies aged 89

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