Bob Rafelson died yesterday at the age of 89 from lung cancer.
Mr. Rafelson was best known as a writer, director and producer. Mr. Rafelson began his career in 1959 as a story editor on the tv series Play of the Week. In 1962, Bob Rafelson began working as an associate producer for various movie and television production companies. In 1965, Mr. Rafelson became friends with producer Bert Schneider and they formed Raybert Productions. The first show that they sold was The Monkees!
The Monkees became an instant hit selling millions of records and won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series! Mr. Rafelson wrote, directed and produced many episodes of the series. When the show ended, Bob Rafelson wanted to make a feature film with the group. Mr. Rafelson and his friend, Jack Nicholson, co-wrote Head which starred The Monkees with appearances from Victor Mature, Teri Garr, Annette Funicello, Frank Zappa, Sonny Liston, Ray Nitschke, and Dennis Hopper.
Bob Rafelson’s next project was to produce Easy Rider starring Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper. Mr. Rafelson followed that by producing and directing Five Easy Pieces. Bob Rafelson would go on to produce and direct for the remainder of his career. Some of the films Bob Rafelson directed include: The King of Marvin Gardens, Stay Hungry, The Postman Always Rings Twice and Black Widow.
I was a huge Monkee fan and although I didn’t know it at the time, without Bob Rafelson, The Monkees would have never happened. By all accounts, Bob Rafelson was a man who did what he wanted and was willing to take risks to see things done according to his vision.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bob Rafelson’s family, friends and fans.