Born to parents of third-generation Portuguese-American and French-Portuguese American extraction in Fall River, Massachusetts, Rebello was raised in Somerset, Massachusetts. He graduated from Somerset High School where he co-edited the school newspaper and was a soloist in the mixed chorus. As a child singer, he had performed on a weekly radio show and done extensive live performances.
He graduated with a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where he double majored in literature and psychology. He received a Master's from Simmons College School of Social Work inBoston, Massachusetts.
After several years as a clinical social worker and supervisor at a Harvard University-affiliated hospital and also as a private therapist in Boston, Massachusetts, he relocated in 1980 to Los Angeles, California. Continuing his work as a therapist, he eventually branched into journalism, publishing feature articles and interviews in The Real Paper, Cinefantastique , American Film Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Saturday Review, Cosmopolitan, Movieline, GQ and More, among others.
His interview subjects have included Lee Iaccoca, Chuck Yeager, Sharon Stone, Nicole Kidman, Anthony Minghella, Steven Soderbergh, Matt Damon, Jerry Bruckheimer, Eva Mendes, Clive Owen, Demi Moore, Drew Barrymore, Tom Cruise, Denis Leary, Robert Downey Jr, Rosario Dawson and Scarlett Johansson. He is a Playboy magazine Contributing Editor.
In the late 'Nineties, he worked with some of the legendary Disney artists as writer on several Disney animated film concepts and projects that remain unproduced. He also and wrote the teleplay for a Disney live action musical for the American Broadcasting Company, yet to be produced.
He wrote the award-winning 1998 non-fiction book Reel Art - Great Posters From the Golden Age of the Silver Screen (with Richard C. Allen) Abbeville Press. The book generated film poster exhibitions in 1988 at The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York and in 1990 in the Paine Webber Building in New York City.
The book was honored at an event at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as one of the best ever written about Hollywood.
Rebello's 1990 non-fiction book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, distributed by W.W. Norton, received considerable praise on publication. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt in the May 7, 1990 edition of the New York Times declared it a "meticulous history of a single film production." Critic, author and filmmaker Richard Schickel called the book "indispensable and marvelously readable" and "one of the best accounts of the making of an individual movie we've ever had." Reviewer Gary Johnson called the book "one of the best books ever written about the making of a movie" and "unquestionably the best source available."
Paperback editions have been published by St. Martin's Griffin and by W.W. Norton. Hardcover editions have been published in the U.K., Australia, Italy, and Japan. The book has become a standard and continues to be used in film studies classes on director Alfred Hitchcock.
In 2005, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter announced the optioning of the screen rights to Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho for a television movie or miniseries. When that option expired, another filmmaking company immediately took an option to produce a major feature film. In 2010, the drama with comedic overtones is in the works from The Montecito Picture Company and Paramount Pictures. Anthony Hopkins has stated in several interviews his intention to star as Alfred Hitchcock. Rebello is screenwriter and executive producer.