He was the director of “Five Easy Pieces” 89 – The Hollywood Reporter

Bob Rafelson, writer, director, producer, and maverick who set the rocking and psychedelic tone of the 1960s with Monkees, then pioneering one of the most influential eras in independent film history, is dead. He was 89 years old.

Raffelson, who collaborated with Jack Nicholson on seven features, including classics Easy Rider (1969), Five easy pieces (1970) and The King of Marvin Gardens (1972), died Saturday night of natural causes at his home in Aspen, Colorado, his wife Gabrielle said The Hollywood Reporter.

Rafelson received Oscar nominations for co-writing and producing Five easy pieces Hence, to appear, he produced the remarkable success of Peter Bogdanovich, Show last photo (1971).

Together with his late partner Bert Schneider, Raffelson created Monkeesthe NBC show that premiered in 1966. Envisioned the idea for a program that simulated the Beatles’ exuberance, specifically the free energy of their 1964 film a hard day’s Night.

Produced by Raybert Productions, the series featured the comedic adventures of a struggling music band searching for fame and fortune while living in Malibu. The quartet was chosen from an open call that was advertised with full page ads, including one in THR. Stephen Stills was among the hundreds who took the audition. For years, an urban legend swirled that Charles Manson had also tried it. Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork were eventually selected.

Colorful, fast-paced, full of slapstick and silliness, Monkees She embodied the rebellious feelings of the younger generation. And although it only lasted two seasons and 58 episodes, it became a pop culture phenomenon (and brought Raffelson and Schneider an Emmy Award in 1967 for Outstanding Comedy Series).

In addition to directing the sitcom as producer and then executive producer, Rafelson directed several episodes. He is also credited with writing two shows that revolve around the group’s performance on tour.

The quartet represented their personalities more than their musical abilities, they really had talent. Jones was an English singer and actor best known for playing Artful Dodger on Broadway in Oliver. Nesmith and Turk knew their way around the guitar and were aspiring songwriters. Dolenz, a former child actor who became famous for the NBC series in the 1950s circus boyHe had a great pop sound (and would learn how to play the drums). But since they weren’t a natural mix, Raffelson and Schneider cleverly hired music producer Don Kirchner to oversee the music.

Kirchner, in turn, tapped into some of the best songwriting talent of the era. Contributors included Neil Diamond, Carol King, Harry Nelson, Jon Stewart, Carol Baer-Saqr, Neil Sedaka, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. The Monkees’ first four albums reached number one on the Billboard charts, and the group had six singles in the top ten, including “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” and “Daydream Believer.”

The musical legacy that The Monkees left behind is arguably the band’s biggest influence.

After the series was canceled in 1968, Raffelson brought The Monkees to the big screen head (1968), his directorial debut on the big screen, in which he and Schneider secured a five-picture deal with Columbia.

His wife pointed out in a 2011 story in Watchman about the band. “They felt he did his job with them, and their audience was already renegade. But Bob felt he wanted to complete the course. He felt that the truth of the Monkees’ story had not been told – their manipulation, their protest and their great talent. He felt the true story, in the abstract. [form]It would be more than worth talking about.”

To create the script, Rafelson teamed up with Nicholson, who was then a second-rate actor and aspiring writer. The duo reportedly created the story during a marijuana-fueled session in Ojai, with Nicholson then penning it into a script while under the influence of LSD.

Originally the changes, the title was changed in a nod to the drug culture of the time. Raffelson and Schneider loved it, joking that they could market their later advantage with the tagline, “From the guys who gave you head. “

Critics found the film a disjointed and confusing journey of the stream of consciousness that deconstructed the pop character who made the Monkees stars.

Featuring a quirky cast including mature Victor, Annette Funicello, Terry Jarre, Frank Zappa, Sonny Liston, head He ridiculed a range of topics, including war, American values, and the falsehood of Hollywood. Monkees fans were alienated by the group’s attack on the characters they played on TV. The adult audience they had been trying to impress for a long time had lost interest in what they considered a shallow pop group. head It was a disappointment at the box office and weakened the Monkees’ popularity.

Later Watchman The article, writer Dorian Lenski added, “But Raffelson honestly thought it would work. “Bob was disappointed that he hoped the movie would overtake the group name,” Gabrielle says. He quickly realized his mistake. At the Greenwich Village show, hipsters who They were seduced by the obscure posters the moment The Monkees showed up. The reviews were brutal. And from her $790,000 budget, she’s only got $16,111 back.”

Over the years, the film has amassed a cult following, helped by word of mouth that is better appreciated if changed.

respond to head Rafelson was not deterred. The second feature from Raybert Productions was filmed simultaneously and was about to be released. that was Easy Rider.

Directed by Dennis Hopper from a screenplay by Hopper, Peter Fonda and Terry Southern. Easy Rider Hollywood rocked when it hit theaters in the summer of 1969.

Commenting the counterculture on America, Easy Rider It starred Fonda and Hopper as pot-trading hippies who, after a great degree and a meeting with a drunken lawyer (Nicholson), take to the road to go cross-country on their motorbikes. Along the way, they encounter good and evil in the nation.

A celebration of the free spirit and drug-lovers of the ’60s generation, Easy Rider Young moviegoers. Made for less than half a million dollars, it became the 3rd highest-grossing film of the year and made a star for Nicholson.

Easy Rider It also proved to the studios that their massive star-driven formula and huge budgets needed replacing. And Raffelson was just getting started.

Raybert chose a third partner, Stephen Blauner, and changed his name to BBS Productions (for Bob, Bert and Steve). Meanwhile, Rafelson was focusing on his second advantage, Five easy pieces. True to his outward inclinations, the film tells the story of a solitary tramp, Bobby Dubia (Nicholson), who turns his back on his privileged life and talent as a pianist to work on an oil rig. When his father falls ill, he must return home to confront what he has been rebelling against. In addition to directing and producing, Rafelson wrote the script with Carol Eastman.

Five easy pieces It was hailed as a cinematic masterpiece. Roger Ebert chose it as his best film of 1970, and it was nominated for four Oscars. Nicholson earned his second Academy Award nomination, cementing his status as a leading man.

BBS Productions has continued to enter a new wave of independent paid films such as Show last photo; drive said (1971), which was Nicholson’s directorial debut; The Oscar-winning anti-war documentary hearts and minds (1974); Directed by Raffelson The King of Marvin Gardens (1972), starring Nicholson and Bruce Dern as brothers in a story from the Atlantic City set.

After completing a production deal with Columbia, BBS Productions was discontinued and Raffelson focused on making his own films. These efforts included stay hungry (1976), in which newcomer Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared, and Postman rings always twice (1981), which starred Nicholson and Jessica Lange in the Cruel and Brutal remake of the 1942 MGM melodrama.

He said, “If my films have anything in common” Los Angeles Times In 1986, “They tend to focus on characters who struggle to overcome the burden of tradition in their lives.”

His career could hit a snag, you might say, when you punched a Fox executive in the jaw and got fired from Robert Redford’s director job. Propacker (1980). He left the business in 2002.

Robert Rafelson was born on February 21, 1933 in New York. His father made hat ribbons and it was his uncle Samson Rafelson, who wrote the short story and Broadway play that was the basis for Al Jolson’s play. jazz singer (1927).

As a teenager, Rafelson rebelled against his father and refused to catch up with him in the textile business. he told times In 1997. “I started leaving home at the age of 14.”

Raffelson’s travels took him to Arizona, where he became a rodeo contestant, and Acapulco, where he performed as a jazz musician. He studied philosophy at Dartmouth before being drafted into the US Army. While in Japan, he worked as a disc jockey, translated Japanese films, and became a consultant for Shochiku Co.

When Rafelson returned home, he got a job in the mailroom for producer David Susskind. He made his way to the reader and then the story editor for the Susskind anthology series play of the week And adapted several episodes. In 1961, he wrote a part of the fact-based drama on CBS witness.

In 1962, Rafelson came to Hollywood and worked as a co-producer on ABC shows such as The greatest show on earthStarring Jack Palance and Channing. In the latter, he rose up with MCA mogul Lou Wasserman about the creative direction of the show. The argument ended with Raffelson scanning the contents of Wasserman’s desk to the floor, and he was fired.

But soon after, he signed as a producer on NBC’s adaptation of Screen Gems The silliest ship in the armyHere he met Schneider. The following year, they formed Raybert, and soon Screen Gems were sold on their idea Monkees.

Rafelson’s later efforts included directing Black Widow (1987), starring Debra Winger and Theresa Russell; adventure tale moon mountains (1990); Two other films starring Nicholson, man problem (1992) and blood and wine (1997); And the bad certificate (2002).

In 1986, he directed the music video for “All Night Long”, which was scored by Lionel Richie.

While in high school, Rafelson began dating Toby Carr, and they married in 1955. She worked as a production designer with Rafelson at Five easy piecesAnd the The King of Marvin Gardens And the stay hungry. They had two children. Peter is a songwriter, best known for Madonna’s 1986 hit “Open Your Heart”; Jolie was killed at the age of 10 when a gas stove exploded in the Raffelson home in Aspen.

Also among the survivors are his sons Gabriel, Ethan, and Harper; daughter-in-law Karen; and nephew.

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