RAFELSON, ROBERT (1933– ), U.S. director, producer, writer. Born in Manhattan, Rafelson worked at a rodeo at 15, followed by a stint as a deckhand on an ocean liner, and later tried his hand as a jazz drummer. At Dartmouth College, Rafelson was an Armed Forces radio deejay. He was a producer on the TV series The Wackiest Ship in the Navy (1965–66) before becoming writer, director, and producer for the television series The Monkees (1966–67) for which he won an Emmy. Rafelson's film debut was Head (1968), a Monkees movie which he directed and produced. He cowrote the screenplay with Jack Nicholson, and coproduced Easy Rider (1969). Rafelson directed, produced, and cowrote Five Easy Pieces, in which Nicholson starred, earning four Academy Award nominations, including Best Film and Best Original Screenplay. Rafelson and Nicholson also worked together on The King of Marvin Gardens (1972). Stay Hungry (1976), which Rafelson directed and produced, featured Arnold Schwarzenegger in one of his first roles. Nicholson also starred in Rafelson's 1981 hit The Postman Always Rings Twice, a remake of the 1946 film based on the James M. Cain novel, with a screenplay by David *Mamet. Mountains of the Moon (1990) was a biographical account of Sir Richard Burton and John Speke's search for the origin of the Nile. In 1994, Rafelson returned to television and directed the "Armed Response" episode of the miniseries Picture Window. Rafelson also directed the television films Poodle Springs (1998) and Afterthoughts (2002), a documentary about independent Hollywood film-makers. Other Rafelson films include Brubaker (1980), Black Widow (1987), Man Trouble (1992), Wet (1995), Blood and Wine (1996), and The House on Turk Street (2002). Rafelson is playwright Samson *Raphaelson's nephew.
[Susannah Howland (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.