Five Easy Pieces Director Bob Rafelson, Dead at 89

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Bob Rafelson, the Academy Award–nominated writer and director has died. He was 89. His ex-wife Gabrielle Taurek confirmed the news, and told the New York Times that he had been suffering from lung cancer. Rafelson was a frequent collaborator with Jack Nicholson, working together on such films as Five Easy Pieces, the remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice, Easy Rider, Head, and The King of Marvin Gardens. He also co-created The Monkees with Bert Schneider.

Rafelson’s film career began with Head, the trippy film iteration of the Monkees IP co-written with Nicholson. From there, Rafelson and his producing partners helped bring Easy Rider to life. From there, he was able to slide into auteur mode with Five Easy Pieces and The King of Marvin Gardens, both of which were heavily contributed to by his then-wife, Toby Carr Rafelson. Rafelson’s production company, BBS, was the model for New Hollywood cool in the ’70s, also producing Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show.

Rafelson had an affinity for the noir genre, remaking The Postman Always Rings Twice and directing versions of stories by Raymond Chandler (1998’s Poodle Springs) and Dashiell Hammett (2002’s No Good Deed). His work has been oft-discussed on Karina Longworth’s You Must Remember This podcast, in both the seasons on Polly Platt and erotic films of the ’80s.

Five Easy Pieces Director Bob Rafelson, Dead at 89