Born into a theatrical family in New York City (his mother, a Broadway costume designer; his father, a writer, Painter and filmmaker), he was named after the painter Raphael. He began his acting career at the age of 4; doing several episodes of a new show for PBS called, Sesame Street. But in fact, he was "raised in a trunk," backstage, in costume shops and rehearsal halls, from as early as he can remember.
Theater is Raphael's passion and his stage credits include work on Broadway in Ah, Wilderness with Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhurst; Curse of an Aching Heart with Faye Dunaway; Shadow Box with Mercedes Ruehl; Twilight of the Golds and Voices in the Dark. Extensive regional and off-Broadway credits include Picnic with Gwyneth Paltrow; Booth with Frank Langella; Hamlet, directed by Joseph Papp; and most recently, The Cherry Orchard with Annette Bening and Alfred Molina. On the big screen, he has appeared in over 30 films, including Risky Business, Independence Day, Message in a Bottle, Vision Quest, and Pearl Harbor.