Home   >   Movie Stars   >   R   >   Bob Rafelson
Bob Rafelson
  • Biography

Bob Rafelson

Bob Rafelson is one of American cinemas leading figures, having distinguished himself over the past three decades as a director, writer and producer of a unique collection of award-winning and ground-breaking films.

Born in New York City and educated at Dartmouth and the University of Benares in India. Rafelson began his career in television and shortly thereafter started his own company which went on to create and produce the original Monkees, whose television show and pop recordings garnered phenomenal international success, including the Emmy for Best Television Show.

Rafelson made his feature film directorial debut with HEAD, long considered a cult classic. The film, starring the Monkees and which he also produced, marked his first professional collaboration with Jack Nicholson with whom he wrote the screenplay.

Rafelson next partnered with Bert Schneider and Steve Blauner to form BBS Productions, the company which proved to be the spawning ground for an artistic renaissance in American filmmaking, producing such films as EASY RIDER, FIVE EASY PIECES, THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, and the Academy Award-winning documentary, HEARTS AND MIND.

He is best known as the director of the 1970 classic film, FIVE EASY PIECES, starring Jack Nicholson, which he also co-wrote and co-produced. FIVE EASY PIECES, considered to be one of the most important films in the history of cinema, was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor (Nicholson) and Best Supporting Actress (Karen Black). Rafelson was honored by the New York Film Critics as the Best Director of the Year.

Rafelson's success with FIVE EASY PIECES was followed by THE KING OF MARVIN GARDENS, which he produced and directed. The international award-winning film, reviewed by Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times as "a curious, stunningly cinematic, intricately structured, intensely atmospheric new film," starred Jack Nicholson, Bruce Dern and Ellen Burstyn.

His next film, STAY HUNGRY, provided early breakthrough roles for its stars Jeff Bridges, Sally Field and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Rafelson again demonstrated his unique ability for identifying and nurturing promising, young talent when he cast Jessica Lange opposite Jack Nicholson in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE. The film, directed by Rafelson from David Mamet's screenplay adaptation of the novel by James M. Cain, featuring Anjelica Huston in a role that also precipitated her rise to prominence. Roger Ebert reviewed POSTMAN as showing a technical mastery of filmmaking. It went on to become a huge commercial hit worldwide.

Rafelson later directed the psychological thriller BLACK WIDOW, starring Debra Winger and Theresa Russell in which Winger's hunt for a serial killer threads through a character study of the two women.

An inveterate world traveler, Rafelson was drawn to the historical saga of explorers Sir Richard Burton and John Speke and their search for the origin of the Nile. Rafelson realized their story in his biographical account of their adventures when he directed and co-wrote MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2002.

Bob Rafelson Facts

BirthdayFebruary 21, 1933 (90)
BirthplaceNew York, New York, USA

Selected Filmography

Not available.