The son of a Hollywood power broker — his father, Abraham, ran Columbia Pictures in the late 1960s — Schneider helped revitalize moviemaking in the "New Hollywood" movement in which directors, not studios, held the creative reins and made movies that embraced the sensibilities of the emerging counterculture.
Schneider helped created the Monkees, the popular made-for-TV rock quartet modeled on the Beatles who starred in their own Emmy-winning sitcom from 1966 to 1968.
The success of the Monkees — who consisted of Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork — provided the capital to finance "Easy Rider," the landmark 1969 film about two motorcyclists in search of a more authentic America that made Jack Nicholson a star.
The producer created a stir during the 1975 Oscars broadcast when, in the course of accepting the best documentary award for "Hearts and Minds," he read a telegram offering "greetings of friendship" from the head of the North Vietnamese delegation to the Paris peace talks. Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra issued a protest statement and, according to Rafelson, nearly got into a fistfight with Schneider backstage.