Bob Rafelson, co-creator of ‘The Monkees’, dies aged 89

He passed away at his home in Aspen, Colorado

Writer, director and producer Bob Rafelson has died at the age of 89.

Rafelson passed away of natural causes last night (July 23) at his home in Aspen, Colorado, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Along with his late partner Bert Schneider, Rafelson co-created the classic NBC sitcom The Monkees, which premiered in 1966. The pair had been inspired by The Beatles‘ 1964 film A Hard Day’s Night, and they decided to develop a TV series about a fictional band.

Rafelson served as a producer and later executive producer on the show, and also directed several episodes. The Monkees ran for two seasons (58 episodes in total) until 1968. In 1967, the show won the Emmy for Oustanding Comedy Series.

After the series wrapped, Rafelson brought The Monkees to the big screen with 1968’s Head, which he wrote and produced alongside Jack Nicholson. Rafelson also directed the movie.

Born in New York City in 1933, Rafelson worked with Jack Nicholson on seven titles overall, including Easy Rider (1969), Five Easy Pieces (1970) and The King Of Marvin Gardens (1972).

He earned Oscar nominations for co-writing and producing Five Easy Pieces, which established Nicholson as a star.

Rafelson continued making films until 2002. In 1976, he directed the Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring Stay Hungry. His final feature-length project was the 2002 thriller No Good Deed, which stars Samuel L. Jackson and Milla Jovovich.

In 1986, Rafelson directed the official video for Lionel Richie‘s single ‘All Night Long’.

The original Monkees line-up consisted of Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork and Davy Jones. Dolenz, 77, is the only surviving member of the group.

Nesmith died last December aged 78, with Tork passing away in 2019 at the age of 77. Jones died back in 2012 aged 66.