Bob Rafelson, Director of 'Five Easy Pieces' and Co-Creator of 'The Monkees,' Dead at 89

Bob Rafelson
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Bob Rafelson -- the acclaimed filmmaker and one of the preeminent figures in the New Hollywood movement of the 1970s -- has died. He was 89.

Rafelson died on Saturday at his home in Aspen, Colorado, according to multiple  reports. The director and producer died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family, his longtime friend and former personal assistant told Variety.

Rafelson became a driving force in a changing cinematic landscape with his acclaimed 1970 drama, Five Easy Pieces, starring Jack Nicholson. The film -- which Rafelson wrote, directed and produced -- went on to be a commercial and critical success, and earned four Oscar nominations.

His follow-up directorial efforts -- 1972's The King of Marvin Gardens and 1976's Stay Hungry -- further cemented his reputation as a filmmaker with a specific vision. He later reteamed with Nicholson for the 1981 neo-noir drama The Postman Always Rings Twice.

As a producer, Rafelson also had a hand in the iconic classics Easy Rider (1969) and The Last Picture Show (1971).

Apart from his work in film, Rafelson is also remembered for being a co-creator of The Monkees -- a fabricated rock group modeled on the Beatles that starred on a TV show and went on to release several real hit songs. The Monkees -- which Rafelson co-created with his longtime producing partner Bert Schneider -- ran from 1966 to 1968 and earned Rafelson an Emmy Award in 1967.

He is survived by wife Gabrielle Taurek, and his three sons, Peter, E.O. and Harper.

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