Following Jim Morrison's death in 1971, Ray Manzarek became the public face of The Doors, the unofficial band spokesman who took on the task of keeping the band's reputation and memory alive up until his own death in 2013. However, he had always been the musical soul of The Doors, his distinctive keyboard work being as integral to the band's sound as Morrison's lyrics and vocals.
Ray Manzarek had planned to become a professional basketball player while growing up in Chicago, but instead studied economics at DePaul University. While attending the Department of Cinematography at UCLA, Manzarek befriended fellow film student Jim Morrison. According to legend, the pair formed The Doors (name cribbed from the title of Aldous Huxley's drug memoir The Doors of Perception (1954)) on Venice Beach shortly after graduation, when Morrison sang his newly-written song "Moonlight Drive" to Manzarek. Adding guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore, whom Manzarek had met at a lecture about Transcendental Meditation, The Doors quickly became fixtures on the emergent Sunset Strip club scene, which had already birthed The Byrds and Love. Signing to Elektra Records, The Doors charted with their self-titled debut album and its hit single "Light My Fire." Critical and commercial success followed, although the band's later years were troubled by Morrison's increasing alcoholism and erratic behavior, including a notorious incident on March 1, 1969, when the singer was arrested for indecent exposure following a concert in Miami. After Morrison died of an apparent heart attack in Paris on July 3, 1971, The Doors continued for two critically and commercially unsuccessful albums with Manzarek and Krieger sharing lead vocal duties before splitting in 1973.
Following two unsuccessful solo albums, The Golden Scarab (1973) and The Whole Thing Started With Rock & Roll Now It's Out of Control (1975), and a stint leading the band Nite City, which also included future Blondie bassist Nigel Harrison, Manzarek entered a second career as a producer. His best-known credits include the first four albums by Los Angeles punk group X, who recorded The Doors' "Soul Kitchen" on their debut Los Angeles (1980), and a 1987 cover of The Doors' "People Are Strange" by Echo and the Bunnymen, whose singer Ian McCulloch was frequently compared to Morrison. In 1991, Manzarek was played by Kyle MacLachlan opposite Val Kilmer as Morrison in Oliver Stone's biopic "The Doors." A memoir, Light My Fire: My Life With The Doors (1998) was followed by two novels, The Poet In Exile (2001) and Snake Moon (2006). Following a 2000 reunion of all three surviving bandmembers with The Cult's Ian Astbury on vocals, Manzarek and Krieger continued collaborating with other musicians under the names The Doors of the 21st Century, D21C, Riders on the Storm and Manzarek-Krieger. Ray Manzarek died of complications from bile duct cancer on May 20, 2013, survived by his wife of 45 years, Dorothy Fujikawa, and their son Pablo.
Director (Feature Film)
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Special)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Formed The Doors with Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger and John Densmore
Debut album <i>The Doors</i>
Second album <i>Strange Days</i>
Third album <i>Waiting for the Sun</i>
Fourth album <i>The Soft Parade</i>
Fifth album <i>Morrison Hotel</i>
Sixth album <i>L.A. Woman</i>
First solo album <i>The Golden Scarab</i>
Doors track "Riders on the Storm" inducted into Grammy Hall of Fame.