He formed the band with lead singer Jim Morrison in 1965 after a chance meeting in Venice Beach, Los Angeles. The Doors found fame in the 1960s with hits such as ‘The End’, ‘Break on Through to the Other Side’ and ‘Hello I Love You’. They sold more than 100 million albums worldwide and Manzarek became one of the best-known keyboardists of his era, his artistry colouring tracks like ‘Riders on the Storm’ and ‘Light my Fire’.
The death of Morrison of heart failure in a bath in Paris on 3 July 1971 effectively spelled the end for the band, although Chicago-born Manzarek took on singing duty. The front man had moved to the city to write. A doctor's report stated the cause of his death was heart failure aggravated by heavy drinking.
In his later years, Manzarek played in other bands and, in 1998, wrote a best-selling memoir, ‘Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors’.