UCLA alumnus and The Doors keyboard legend dies at 74

Ray Manzarek

THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY BRENDAN HORNBOSTEL AND PUBLISHED BY DAILY BRUIN ON MAY 24, 2013.

UCLA alumnus Ray Manzarek, keyboardist and founding member of the rock ’n’ roll band The Doors, died Monday afternoon, in Rosenheim, Germany after a long battle with bile duct cancer. He was 74.

During the 1960s, Manzarek helped light the fire of a generation with his psychedelic rock as a member of The Doors. He transcended the role of the keyboard in rock music, surging a path with his organ-driven solos and famous melodies. Without the life of Ray Manzarek, rock ’n’ roll would not be the same today, said Thomas Harrison, a professor at UCLA who has taught classes in rock lyrics that focused heavily on The Doors.

Manzarek was born in 1939 in Chicago, Ill., and grew up taking piano lessons. Born Raymond Manczarek, he came to UCLA in 1962 to study film at the department of cinematography, where he met his bandmate Jim Morrison. Manzarek later said, in a 1989 interview about his time at UCLA, that he originally was enrolled in law school for two weeks, before dropping out and realizing the department of cinematography was perfect for him.

“Music, theater, photography, all of it; the cinema combining all of the art forms, writing, acting, music, cameras,” Manzarek said. “All the things that I was interested in all went together into the film.”

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