Robert Rafelson was born on Feb. 21, 1933, in New York City. His father was a hat producer who anticipated his sons to enter the household enterprise. But Mr. Rafelson discovered inspiration in his uncle, the screenwriter Samson Raphaelson, who labored with the director Ernst Lubitsch on many movies, together with “Trouble in Paradise” and “The Shop Around the Corner.”
Rebelling in opposition to his comfy Upper West Side upbringing, Mr. Rafelson left residence as an adolescent to work at a rodeo in Arizona and to play with a jazz band in Acapulco, Mexico. He returned to the U.S. to check philosophy at Dartmouth College and on commencement was drafted into the Army. He served in Japan, working as a D.J. for the Far East Network of army radio and tv stations. He was court-martialed twice, as soon as for putting an officer and as soon as for uttering an obscenity on the air.
Mr. Rafelson, an avid moviegoer as a baby, had been uncovered to international movies at a younger age, and whereas in Tokyo he labored as a marketing consultant for the Japanese studio Shochiku. Back in New York, he bought his begin as a narrative editor on the “Play of the Week” TV anthology sequence.
After transferring to Los Angeles in 1962 along with his first spouse, Toby Carr, a manufacturing designer, he continued to work in tv, however the strictures of the format had been a poor match for his ambitions and eclectic tastes.
He misplaced his job at a tv arm of Universal Pictures when he bought into an argument with the Hollywood titan Lew Wasserman over a casting selection. Mr. Rafelson knocked every little thing on Mr. Wasserman’s desk to the ground and was escorted off the premises.
At Screen Gems, then the tv subsidiary of Columbia Pictures, he met Mr. Schneider, a kindred spirit whose father, Abraham, was a high Columbia government. The two well-connected younger producers sought to capitalize on the success of Beatlemania with a present about an invented pop group. Their advertisements in search of “4 insane boys, 17-21” yielded the Monkees, and the heartthrobs grew to become bona fide chart-toppers.