During teens, worked as rodeo rider in Arizona, a jazz bass player and drummer in Acapulco and a tramp seaman
Did US Army service in Japan; worked as disc jockey for Far East Network, a translator of Japanese films and an advisor to Shochiku Company
Returned to New York City, began working for David Susskind as story editor on TV's "Play of the Week"
Writer, associate producer, script supervisor for DuPont Show of the Month
Moved to California, worked as producer for Screen Gems; met Bert Schneider
With Bert Schneider, created "The Monkees" TV series
Formed BBS productions with Bert Schneider and Steve Blauner
Directed, co-produced and co-wrote (with Jack Nicholson) first feature, "Head", starring The Monkees
Co-executive producer (uncredited) together with Schneider of "Easy Rider"
Scored big success as director of "Five Easy Pieces", providing Jack Nicholson's first mainstream starring role; also produced and credited for story
BBS produced Peter Bogdanovich's "The Last Picture Show" and Henry Jaglom's "A Safe Place"
Reteamed with Nicholson, directing, co-writing and producing "The King of Marvin Gardens", the second part of their trilogy of the dysfunctional family
BBS produced Nicholson's directorial debut, "Drive, He Said"
Co-scripted, directed and produced "Stay Hungry", an adaptation of Charles Gaines' novel about body-building in the "New South", launching feature careers of Sally Field and Arnold Schwarzenegger
His dismissal as director of "Brubaker" led Rafelson and Fox to bring lawsuits against one another
Remake of "The Postman Always Rings Twice" brought director Rafelson into collaboration with writer David Mamet and actors Jessica Lange and Nicholson
Completed first film within the studio system, "Black Widow", ironically for past adversary Fox
Delivered vivid, stimulating, satisfying account of explorer Sir Richard Burton's search for the source of the Nile River in "Mountains of the Moon"; screenplay by Rafelson and William Harrison based on the latter's biographical novel "Burton and Speke" and on actual journals of the two explorers
Misfired badly with "Man Trouble" despite the presence of Nicholson in the cast and a script by "Five Easy Pieces" screenwriter Carole Eastman (Adrian Joyce)
One of six directors contributing a 30-minute section to Showtime's "Picture Windows" (other directors: Norman Jewison, Peter Bogdanovich, Jonathan Kaplan, Joe Dante and John Boorman)
Final installment of Nicholson-Rafelson trilogy on the dysfunctional family, "Blood and Wine"; sixth time Nicholson had acted in a Rafelson-directed feature
Directed HBO movie "Poodle Springs", adapted by Tom Stoppard from the Robert B Parker novel based on an unfinished Raymond Chandler story