Founding Keyboardist of ‘The Doors’ Ray Manzarek Dies At 74
ROSENHEIM, GERMANY (CBS SF/CBS LA) – Ray Manzarek, the founding keyboardist of The Doors, died Monday morning of bile duct cancer in Germany, according to a post on the group’s official Facebook page. Manzarek was 74.
Manzarek died at 12:31 p.m. at the RoMed Clinic in Rosenheim, Germany surrounded by his wife, Dorothy, and his brothers, Rick and James.
Manzarek was best known for his work with the Doors after a chance encounter on Venice Beach with poet Jim Morrison, according to the Facebook post. The controversial rock group sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.
In December 1967, The Doors taped a performance of their hits “Light My Fire” and “Moonlight Drive” for “The Jonathan Winters Show.” A few days later, at their concert at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom, The Doors were performing on stage as the taping from “The Jonathan Winters Show” aired. Here, an excerpt from Stephen Davis’ book about Jim Morrison, recounts what followed:
“The next night at Winterland, a TV set was wheeled onstage during The Doors set so the band could see themselves on The Jonathan Winters Show. They stopped playing “Back Door Man” when their song came on. The audience watched the Doors watching themselves on TV. They finished the song when their bit was done, and Ray walked over and turned the TV off. The next night was their last ever in Winterland.”
“I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today,” Doors’ guitarist and long-time collaborator Robby Krieger said. “I’m just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him.”
Manzarek, who went on to become a best-selling author and a Grammy-nominated solo artist, survived by his wife, brothers, son Pablo Manzarek and three grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donation be made in Ray Manzarek’s name to standup2cancer.org.
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