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New Hollywood coach Bob Rafelson dies at age 89

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Denver (AP) — Bob Rafelson, an influential figure from the 1970s New Hollywood era, has died, two Oscar nominees for Five Easy Pieces. He was 89 years old.


What you need to know

  • Bob Rafelson died on Saturday at Aspen’s home surrounded by his family, said his wife Gabriel Taurek Rafelson.
  • Rafelson was an influential figure in the 1970s New Hollywood era and was nominated for two Oscars for “Five Easy Pieces.”
  • Francis Ford Coppola once called him “one of the most important film artists of his time.”
  • His fans include Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson

According to his wife Gabriel Taurek Rafelson, Rafelson died Saturday night at his family-enclosed home in Aspen.

Rafelson co-produced the fictional pop music group The Monkees with the late Bert Schneider, who won an Emmy Award for his outstanding comedy series in 1967.

But he was probably best known for his work during the New Hollywood era. It helped the classic studio system to signal the arrival of talents such as Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, Francis Ford, with a rebellious young voice and a batch of fresh filmmaking styles. Spielberg.

Rafelson directed and co-authored “Five Easy Pieces,” about an upper-class pianist who longs for a more blue-collar life, and “King of Marvin Gardens,” about a depressed late-night radio talk show host. Both films, starring Jack Nicholson, explored the theme of the American dream. “Five Easy Pieces” won two Oscar nominations to Rafelson in 1971, winning the best photos and screenplays.

He also produced creative New Hollywood masterpieces such as Peter Bogdanovich’s “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.

Raphaelson was born in New York City and was a distant relative of “jazz singer” screenwriter Samson Raphaelson. He said he was interested in his work. In Dartmouth, he also made friends with legendary screenwriter Buck Henry.

While serving in the United States Forces Japan, he was interested in Japanese films and Yasujiro Ozu’s films, especially “Tokyo Story.”

After graduating from college, Rafelson married a high school lover. He worked as a production designer for his films and the like. He started the entertainment business on television and starred in shows such as “The Witness” and “The Greatest Showon Earth.”

But the “Monkeys” was his first great success. The Monkees idea was before the Beatles and the musical comedy “A Hard Day’s Night,” but it was a hit when it premiered at NBC in 1966. It runs for two years and Rafelson oversees himself.

The Monkeys also appeared in his feature director debut, “Head,” which was the first of many collaborations with Nicholson.

“I might have thought I had started his career, but I think he started my career,” Nicholson told Esquire in 2019.

Rafelson was proud of his 1990 film, The Mountain of Love and Ambition. The biographical film tells the story of two explorers, Sir Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke, looking for the source of the Nile.

She said Rafelson’s own adventures in places like Morocco, India, Southeast Asia, Mexico and Guatemala influenced his work.

“He loved nothing but disappearing into the strange pockets of the world,” said Taurek Rafelson.

Rafelson left Hollywood 20 years ago and devoted himself to raising Taurek Rafelson and his two sons, Ethan and Harper, in Aspen. He and his first wife, Toby Rafelson, had two children, Peter and Julie. She died in 1973 at the age of 10.

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