Micky Dolenz Shares Heartfelt Tribute to Late ‘The Monkees’ Co-Creator Bob Rafelson

by Sean Griffin

Mickey Dolenz released a statement in the wake of Bob Rafelson’s death. Rafelson died Saturday at 89 years old.

Bob Rafelson was the creator of Easy Rider, The Monkees, and Five Easy Pieces. The writer, producer, and director became one of the most iconic innovators within the industry. His pioneering projects were part of the New Hollywood movement that transformed the trajectory of popular cinema.

He collaborated with film legend Jack Nicholson many times. They collaborated in1969’s Easy Rider, the 1970 hit Five Easy Pieces, and 1972’s The King of Marvin Gardens. Rafelson passed away at his Aspen, Colorado home of natural causes, his wife Gabrielle reports.

Mickey Dolenz, vocalist and drummer of The Monkees, released a statement about Bob Rafelson’s impact on his life.

“One day in the spring of 1966, I cut my classes in architecture at L.A. Trade Tech to take an audition for a new TV show called ‘The Monkees.’ The co-creator/producer of the show was Bob Rafelson,” Dolenz said. “At first, I mistook him for another actor there for the audition. Needless-to-say, I got the part and it completely altered my life. Regrettably, Bob passed away last night but I did get a chance to send him a message telling him how eternally grateful I was that he saw something in me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, my friend.”

Dolenz is the only surviving member of The Monkees following the 2021 death of Michael Nesmith.

Mickey Dolenz’s Mentor Bob Rafelson’s Life and Career

Before and after working with Mickey Dolenz and the rest of The Monkees, Rafelson lived an accomplished life.

Born in New York in 1933, Rafelson was a wild child. He said he started running away around age 14. Over the years, Bob Rafelson traveled across the country and internationally. He worked in a variety of roles such as a rodeo rider and a jazz musician. He also took some time to study philosophy at Dartmouth. Rafelson was later drafted into the US Army where he worked as a disc jockey and translated Japanese films. This led to a position with the Japanese film company Shochiku Co.

In 1962, the future director and producer arrived in Hollywood where he began work as a producer on shows such like ABC hit The Greatest Show on Earth.

Bob Rafelson then earned Oscar nominations for his work on Five Easy Pieces and The Last Picture. In 1966, he collaborated with Bert Schneider to create The Monkees. The show and band was a take on the phenomenon of Beatlemania.

This series centered on the lives of the four band members while living in their Malibu home. It turned Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork into household names and launched the music the band is known for.