The Doors' Ray Manzarek thought Jim Morrison might have faked his own death

Publish Date
Friday, 21 August 2020, 11:05AM
Getty Images

Getty Images

Not everyone was convinced that Jim Morrison really died in Paris in 1971, and that included at least one member of the rock icon's own band.

The Doors' Ray Manzarek often argued that it was possible that the mercurial 'Lizard King' faked his demise at age 27 in order to escape the pressure of being a pop star, a 20th century icon and a lightning rod for criticism.

While Robby Krieger found the theory amusing at best, he tells Classic Rock magazine that Manzarek seemed to lend it more credence.

"I used to love talking to Ray, and he would always say, 'I wouldn't be surprised if Jim turned up,'" Krieger said. "And I used to think, 'Come on, man, you don't really believe that, do you?' That was pretty much bulls--t."

Morrison moved to France late in the winter of 1971, presumably to focus on poetry. Krieger, Manzarek and drummer John Densmore were convinced that their singer was just burned out and needed some time to find himself. They continued working on music to be ready for when he returned.

But the toll Morrison's alcoholism and drug abuse had taken on his health was apparent long before he left for Europe, and the spiral only continued when he arrived in France.

"Jim was not well," Krieger noted. "When he left, he had this horrible cough and he just wasn't a hundred percent. So, if somebody gives you some heroin, you start drinking some whiskey, and maybe he did die."

Morrison was found dead in his apartment on July 3, 1971. His cause of death was listed as heart failure, though no autopsy was ever performed.

Manzarek's consideration that Morrison lived was a source of frustration to Densmore.

"I think [that] really got him and John in a bad... John was really just [upset] about that."

While Krieger and Manzarek toured together playing Doors music for many years, Densmore always opposed what he saw as a misappropriation of the band's legacy. The drummer didn't even waver when the band was offered $15 million to allow their music to be used in a car commercial.

"What can I say? Jim's ghost is behind me all the time," Densmore told The Guardian early this year of his schism with Manzarek.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission

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