Bob Rafelson, ‘monkees’ Co-creator and ‘five Easy Pieces’ Director, Dead at 89
Bob Rafelson in 1990; George Rose/Getty Images

Bob Rafelson, the director, producer and writer best known for co-creating The Monkees TV series and helming the 1970 film Five Easy Pieces, “died peacefully, surrounded by his family” Saturday evening at his home in Aspen, Colorado, his former personal assistant, Jolene Wolff, tells Variety.

In 1965, Rafelson teamed up with fellow aspiring filmmaker Bert Schneider — who died in 2011 — to form the Raybert Productions company, whose first project was a comedy show that followed a fabricated rock group seemingly modeled on The Beatles. The series, which ran from 1966 to 1968, was initially a huge success, as were several of the albums that the band created for the show released.

In 1968, Rafelson directed and co-wrote, with Jack Nicholson, the movie Head, which starred The Monkees. Raybert Productions also produced the classic 1969 counterculture film Easy Rider.

Rafelson directed, co-wrote and co-produced Five Easy Pieces, which starred Nicholson and scored four Oscar nominations.

Rafelson also co-wrote and/or directed a number of other films starring Nicholson, including 1972’s The King of Marvin Gardens and 1981’s The Postman Always Rings Twice.

In addition, he directed the music video for Lionel Richie‘s 1983 hit “All Night Long (All Night).”

Monkees member Micky Dolenz paid homage to Rafelson in a Facebook post that reads in part, “One day in the spring of 1966, I cut my classes in architecture at LA Trade Tech to take an audition for a new TV show called, The Monkees … Needless-to-say, I got the part and it completely altered my life…Regrettably, Bob passed away last night after a long illness but I did get a chance to send him a message telling him how eternally grateful I was that he saw something in me.”

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