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Monkees Co-Creator Robert Rafelson Dead At 89

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ASPEN, Colorado (CelebrityAccess) — Robert Rafelson, the noted writer, director, and producer whose films such as Five Easy Pieces and The Postman Always Rings Twice helped to define the New Hollywood movement in the 1970s, has died. He was 89.

Rafelson’s wife, Gabrielle Taurek Rafelson, confirmed his passing to the New York Times, telling the publication he had suffered from lung cancer.

Rafelson was best known for his work as a director, including 1970’s Five Easy Pieces, which features Jack Nicholson in the role of Bobby Dupea, a former classical pianist who lives a blue-collar life as an oil field worker. The film earned rave reviews and four academy award nominations, including best picture and best actor.

He also played a key role in the formation of the pop group The Monkees in 1965 when he, along with fellow producer Bert Schneider, worked on a television project about about a rock ‘n’ roll group. When they were unable to secure the Dave Clark Five or the Lovin’ Spoonful for the show, they assembled the group of artists who would later become The Monkees.

The series, which ran from 1966 to 1968, proved to be a hit and won Rafelson and Schneider the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1967.

Bob Rafelson married Toby Carr in 1955. They lived near Aspen, Colorado, but later divorced. Rafelson later married Taurek in 1999; the couple had two sons, E.O. and Harper.

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