Rudolph is the son of Muriel Eileen (Neufeld) and Sidney J. Rudolph. His grandfather, Julius, changed his surname from "Rudashevsky" to "Rudolph," and was one of the founding members of Congregation Beth Shalom in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
Rudolph started in the music business as a songwriter at Chicago’s legendary Chess Records in 1969. One of his first compositions to be recorded was the title song for Minnie Riperton’s debut solo album, Come to My Garden.
This began a multi-song collaboration with Charles Stepney, the renowned producer of Earth, Wind and Fire fame. Together they wrote many songs for Ms. Riperton and The Rotary Connection.
Rudolph’s career as a record producer began when he and Stevie Wonder joined forces to produce Minnie Riperton’s million-selling album, Perfect Angel.
Included in this album was the song, "Lovin' You" written by Richard Rudolph and Minnie Riperton, which went on to become a #1 song around the world and has turned out to be one of the most performed songs of all time. He has written well over two hundred songs in the course of his songwriting career.
His many production and writing credits include songs and recordings by Minnie Riperton, Stevie Wonder, Teena Marie, The Manhattan Transfer, A Tribe Called Quest, Michael McDonald, Jermaine Jackson, New Edition, 2Pac, Shanice Wilson, Michael Sembello, The Rotary Connection, The Temptations, Julian Lennon, Patti Austin, Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles, Chaka Khan, Lara Fabian, Nuyorican Soul, Kimiko Kasai, Dawn Robinson of En Vogue and many others.
Besides producing music for and music supervising several feature films such as Cocoon, Running Scared, Black Rain, Flatliners, Weekend at Bernie's, The Black Dahlia, Virtuosity, Duets and many others, Rudolph has also overseen films for cable, mini series and movies made for television. He served as Executive Music Producer on the Whitney Houston film project, Whitney, for Lifetime Movies.
Rudolph has also served as the exclusive music consultant to HBO Pictures and was President of the Atlantic Records distributed label Third Stone Records, a company he co-founded with partner (actor/producer) Michael Douglas. Rudolph’s various musical endeavors as a writer, producer, music supervisor and label executive have contributed to worldwide sales in excess of 30 million albums and countless song placements in film, television and commercials.