Monthly Archives: May 2013

SKYWATCH: ASTEROID’S FLY-BY, SEQUESTER HURTING ASTRONOMY, AND MORE

NEWS OBSERVING PHOTO GALLERY MAGAZINE ARCHIVE SHOP AT SKY

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Sequestration Impacts Astronomy, Space Science

May 31, 2013 | From international travel to interplanetary probes, the U.S. budget cuts are having major impacts on both ground- and space-based astronomy. > read more

Weird Glitch in a Cosmic Clock

May 29, 2013 | The sudden slowing of pulses coming from a spinning neutron star defy explanation — and might require a rethink of the universe’s most exotic denizens. > read more

No Planet of Alpha Centauri B?

May 27, 2013 | The uncertain tale of our closest exoplanet neighbor — is it there or isn’t it? — may end on a cliffhanger. > read more

Exoplanet Studies After Kepler: What’s next?

May 30, 2013 | In the wake of the apparent loss of the Kepler mission, the exoplanet community salutes one of its legends while pivoting to new ground- and space-based opportunities. > read more

Lots of Rocks Hit the Moon and Mars

May 29, 2013 | Thanks to high-definition cameras or orbiting spacecraft, planetary geologists are getting their first reliable stats for the impact rates on our neighbor worlds. > read more

OBSERVING
Radar images of asteroid 1998 QE<sub>2</sub> and its satellite

NASA / JPL / GSSR

Biggish Asteroid 1998 QE2 Pays Earth a Visit

May 30, 2013 | This week’s visit by asteroid 1998 QE2 is just a courtesy call, as it passes by on May 31st at 15 times the Moon’s distance. A NASA radar team has already discovered that this big space rock has a sizable companion. > read more

Tour June’s Sky by Eye and Ear!

May 31, 2013 | Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury crowd together low in the west right after sunset, while Saturn is sandwiched high in the south between the constellations Libra and Virgo. > read more

The May-June 2013 Planet Dance

May 23, 2013 | A remarkable series of events takes place low in the west-northwest shortly after sunset from late May to late June. It features the tightest three-planet grouping visible without binoculars until 2026 and an excellent apparition of Mercury. > read more

THIS WEEK’S SKY AT A GLANCE

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

May 31, 2013 | Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter now form a straight line low in the sunset afterglow. Jupiter soon sinks away, but Mercury is having its best apparition of 2013. > read more

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BLACK WOMEN IN AMERICA: RISSI PALMER

Many people are not familiar with the profound Black American influence on country and western music. Many people think that only White Americans are associated with the genre known as country music. Many people would be sadly mistaken if they hold this image of country music in their minds.

Many people have never heard of Ms. Rissi Palmer.

As I pointed out a few years ago in my post On This Day in Black Music History: November 17, 2008, Ms. Palmer is making her mark on the world of country music and she is a voice to be reckoned with:

COUNTRY AND WESTERN MUSIC

The same can also be said of country and western music, which has stong Black American roots, in the American South.

The interactions among musicians from different ethnic groups produced music unique to this region of North America.  Appalachian string bands of the early twentieth century primarily consisted of the fiddle, guitar, and Black Americans contributed with their musical style and the African instrumentthe banjo. Many people think of Patsy Cline and Hank Williams, some may think of Charlie Pride, but, how many know of Rissi Palmer?

Rissi Palmer  

Website: www.rissipalmermusic.com

“Country music singer Rissi Palmer says she’s not looking for favors, just a fair shot. She recalls how Nashville music executives would gush over her demos, then back off when they discovered she was black. Palmer doesn’t blame racism, just the realities of the market.” (Photo: John Russell/AP).

Country music has a strong influence of the contributions of Black Americans.

Here is her story.

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Rissi Palmer (b. August 19, 1981 – ):  Singer – country; R&B.  Born in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ms. Palmer lived there until she moved with her family to Eureka, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, at the age of 12. Her parents were natives of Georgia. Ms. Palmer has stated that her mother, who died when Ms. Palmer was seven, “was a huge Patsy Cline fan”, and her father loved musicians such as Carlos Santana, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and Chaka Khan. Ms. Palmer said she knew at a young age  that she wanted to sing. As a child, she sang on a Mickey Mouse Club-like local television sponsored group called Team 11. At age 16, she performed country music at the Arkansas State Fair.

She worked with R&B producers James “Jimmy Jam” Harris, III and Terry Lewis and, but, her heart was in country music.

Ms. Rissi Palmer debuted in 2007 with the single “Country Girl”, which made her the first Black American woman to chart a country song since Dona Mason in 1987.

“Country Girl” peaked at No. 54 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and served as the lead-off single to her self-titled debut album, which also produced the No. 59 hit “Hold on to Me”.

Also in 2008, Ms. Palmer covered “No Air”, an R&B hit originally performed by Jordan Sparks and Chris Brown.

Rissi Palmer performs at the Chicago Music Country Festival at Soldier’s Field, October 11, 2008.

She married in 2010 and gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Grace, in June 2011.

On January 15, 2013, Ms. Palmer released her second album, Best Day Ever, released through Baldilocks LLC, a company she and her husband, Bryan, formed. The album received positive reviews.

Ms. Rissi Palmer currently resides in North Carolina with her husband and daughter.

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HATEWATCH: ENGINEER AT ELITE ARMY WEAPONS LAB TIED TO RACIST GROUPS

Engineer at Elite Army Weapons Lab Tied to Racist Groups

by Bill Morlin on May 23, 2013

A young research engineer at the U.S. Army’s elite chemical and biological research laboratory in Maryland has close ties to two racist groups espousing white nationalist views, one of which has called for a homeland for white people.

John Stortstrom, a mechanical engineer who works for the Army at its Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC), was among 150 white nationalists, many of them young, who attended theAmerican Renaissance conference held in early April in Tennessee. American Renaissance is a journal dedicated to race and intelligence, with a heavy focus on the “psychopathology” of black people. Its editor has written that black people are incapable of sustaining any kind of civilization.

Stortstrom also has been a member of Youth for Western Civilization (YWC), according to his Facebook page. The far-right student group was started about five years ago, but now appears to be defunct. It was close enough to American Renaissance that the editor of that journal wrote a fundraising letter for it in 2011, describing YWC’s leader as “an eloquent and distinguished young man.”

Remarkably, Stortstrom is simultaneously vice president of theRoute 40 Republican Party Club, based in Edgewood, Md., where the Army research center also is located. Earlier this month, the club sponsored an appearance at the Harford County Sheriff’s Office by Matthew Heimbach, president of the racist White Student Union at Towson University. Heimbach had earlier led a Towson chapter of YWC, but shut it down after members last year chalked “White Pride” around campus, causing an uproar among students and administrators. The WSU is its replacement.

“Good speech, Matthew,” Stortstrom wrote after the Harford County presentation, complimenting Heimbach on Route 40’s Facebook page. The page also shows a photo of Route 40 President Fred Mullis posing with Heimbach, accompanied by the Yiddish phrase, “Mazel tov!,” which means “good luck.”

Neither Stortstrom nor Mullis could be reached for comment.

There’s no question that Stortstrom is very much a part of the racist white nationalist scene, as well as an up-and-coming young GOP operative. But it is Stortstrom’s top-security clearance job at the U.S. Army research facility on the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland that is really raising eyebrows.

On its website, the anti-racist organization “One People’s Project” (OPP), which was the first to point out Stortstrom’s activities, put it like this: “See, not only is he vice-president of a Republican Party club that curiously was comfortable enough with Heimbach that he was invited to speak at one of their meetings, but his job — his actual bread winning profession — is making things that explode!”

Stortstrom’s work for the military, OPP added, puts him in contact with chemical weapons and explosives. The group’s site carries a photo of Stortstrom with the caption, “Engineer. Republican. Racist. Military bomb maker.”

Don Kennedy, the public affairs officer for the Army at the ECBC Communications Office, did not return a Hatewatch telephone call seeking comment yesterday.

Strotstrom earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland in 2008, according to hisLinkedIn page. Describing his job with the U.S. Army on aYouTube video, he explained, “Our job is to provide engineering and chemical expertise to customers in support of obscuration, non-lethal, riot control and incendiary munitions.” Obscuration munitions, he said, include such things as “smoke grenades and white phosphorous artillery rounds used by the war-fighter for concealment on the battlefield.”

“The newest grenade that we support is the M-106,” Stortstrom wrote, describing the M-106 as a “bursting grenade” that fills the air with a “titanium dioxide cloud” after being thrown. “This would be used, say, in a sniper-defense scenario when the operator needs immediate concealment. And that’s one of the most-important jobs at ECBS — making sure the war-fighter has what he needs!”

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There is free speech, and there is being a threat to the people you work with; the citizens of the nation you live in; the government you live under. 

That this John Stortstrom is a research engineer at the U.S. Army’s elite chemical and biological research laboratory in Maryland, with close ties to two racist groups espousing white nationalist views (terrorist, anti-white, anti-government), one of which has called for a homeland for white people, makes him  all the more dangerous.

As part of the military research in biological weapons, he is in a position to release deadly chemicals against POC—-those whom he considers as less than human, because they are not White. It is bad enough that Aryan racists gravitate to the military; it is even worse when racists obtain employment at government-run facilities that deal with dangerous bio-toxins in the U.S. defense industry. What is more, what it to stop this person from secretly funneling chemicals, diagrams, or give access to the facility to his racist cohorts? It is very possible he can commit such actions. There are many ways to compromise national security.

That this man has stayed in the research facility with his views means either he has incompetents as superiors—or they are just as racist as he is for keeping him on. Just because he may have passed a battery of psychological tests, or passed muster with the Hatch Act of 1939, does not mean that he was not holding racists beliefs all along since his employment at Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC).

And on another note—chemical weapons are no respecter of gender, nationality–or race.

What can lethally harm a Black American, can also lethally harm all others, and as taxpayers, we deserve the right to have those working in government facilities not be in a position to harm or destroy us.

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COLORLINES: IT’S NOT A HOUSING BOOM, IT’S A LAND GRAB

It’s Not a Housing Boom. It’s a Land Grab

This time, the runaway housing market is being fueled by Wall Street’s gobbling up properties. But the results will be just as bad for regular people as it was four years ago.

Economic justice contributor Imara Jones reports.

Researchers Find Immigrants Put Billions More Into Medicare Than They Use

Seth Freed Wessler looks at a new study that found immigrants are paying for everyone’s grandmother’s healthcare.

Virginia Governor Will Restore Nonviolent Felons’ Voting Rights

Brentin Mock looks at the historic decision made in Virginia this week.

Alice Walker Absolutely Does Not Want Alicia Keys to Perform in Israel
Walker to Keys: Google me. And then visit Gaza instead.

George Zimmerman Legal Team Asks Public for Cash
Zimmerman’s attorneys posted on their website Wednesday that his defense fund had less than $5,000 left. The fund had almost $315,000 in January.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Will Appeal Racial Profiling Decision
Arpaio also said that he ordered his deputies to stop detaining undocumented immigrants solely because of their immigration status.

‘What Kind of Asian Are You?’ Answered in Hilarious Video
Ever been asked where you’re from? Here’s one way you could respond.

Apple Announces New Upgrade: Former EPA Chief Lisa Jackson
Jackson will be coordinating environmental efforts across the technology company.

Wal-Mart Smacked With $110 Million in Fines for Environmental Crimes
Wal-Mart plead guilty on Tuesday for Clean Water Act violations that involved years of illegally handling hazardous liquids and pesticides in California and Missouri.

Oklahoma’s Latinos Join Recovery Effort Amid State’s Cultural Change
A look at how Latinos are handling recovery after the tornado that hit Oklahoma earlier this month.

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MEMORIAL DAY: MAY 27, 2013

132267 600 Remember cartoons

Remember, copyright Bob Gorrell, nationally-syndicated cartoonist and the former cartoonist at AOL.

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IN REMEMBRANCE: 5-26-2013

ALTON. T. LEMON, WHO CHALLENGED STATE AID TO RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS

By 

Published: May 25, 2013

Alton T. Lemon, a civil rights activist whose objection to state aid to religious schools gave rise to a watershed 1971 Supreme Court decision, died on May 4 in Jenkintown, Pa. He was 84.

Alton Lemon

He had had Alzheimer’s disease, said Korinna Shaw, his daughter-in-law.

Mr. Lemon’s lawsuit challenged a 1968 Pennsylvania law that reimbursed religious schools for some expenses, including teachers’ salaries and textbooks, so long as they related to instruction on secular subjects also taught in the public schools.

Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, writing for the court inLemon v. Kurtzman, said the law violated the First Amendment’s prohibition of government establishment of religion.

The ruling set out what came to be known as the Lemon test, which requires courts to consider whether the challenged government practice has a secular purpose, whether its primary effect is to advance or inhibit religion, and whether it fosters excessive government entanglement with religion.

Chief Justice Burger wrote that the Pennsylvania law, and a similar one in Rhode Island, ran afoul of the entanglement part of the test. But he cautioned that “judicial caveats against entanglement must recognize that the line of separation, far from being a ‘wall,’ is a blurred, indistinct and variable barrier depending on all the circumstances of a particular relationship.”

The Lemon test has been criticized for its opacity and its malleability, but it remains in widespread use. “It’s still the leading establishment-clause case in the sense that every lower-court judge has to slog through it before deciding a case,” said Douglas Laycock, a law professor at the University of Virginia.

Alton Toussaint Lemon was born on Oct. 19, 1928, in McDonough, Ga., where his father owned a tailor shop. He received a degree in mathematics from Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1950.

In a 1992 interview with The Philadelphia Tribune, Mr. Lemon recalled playing basketball at Morehouse with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Before I married my wife, Martin used to say he would marry us for free someday,” Mr. Lemon said.

After service in the Army, Mr. Lemon settled in Philadelphia, earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania, worked in a series of government jobs and was active in the N.A.A.C.P. and the American Civil Liberties Union. He was the first African-American president of the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia, said Hugh Taft-Morales, its current leader.

Besides his daughter-in-law, Mr. Lemon is survived by his wife, Augusta; their son, Anthony; and two grandchildren, Ayanna and Athena.

Mr. Lemon was asked to join the suit challenging the Pennsylvania law after he criticized it at an A.C.L.U. meeting. The suit, conceived as a national test case, was filed in 1969 in federal court in Philadelphia by six religious, civil rights and educational groups along with Mr. Lemon and two other local taxpayers. The lawyers for the plaintiffs put Mr. Lemon’s name first in the caption of the case.

That was no accident, Professor Laycock said. The case was decided against the backdrop of resistance to the desegregation of public schools, and the choice of Mr. Lemon, who was black, underscored the point.

Mr. Lemon, for his part, said he was surprised to have lent his name to a leading piece of First Amendment jurisprudence. “I still don’t know why my name came out first on this case,” he told The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2003.

Many Supreme Court justices have criticized the Lemon test. In a 1993 concurrence, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, “Like some ghoul in a late-night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad after being repeatedly killed and buried, Lemon stalks our establishment clause jurisprudence once again, frightening the little children and school attorneys.”

The flexibility of the test probably explains its resiliency. In Supreme Court cases concerning aid to religious schools, for instance, Professor Laycock said, “They have completely reinterpreted it to do the opposite of what they did in 1971.”

Three decades after the decision, Mr. Lemon said he rued the hollowing out of his achievement. “Separation of church and state is gradually losing ground, I regret to say,” he told The Inquirer.

Mr. Lemon attended the Supreme Court argument in his case, but he found the experience a little alienating. “When your case gets to the Supreme Court, it’s a lawyer’s day in court,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to the justices if you are dead or alive.”

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JAMES TOLBERT, LAWYER TO BLACK HOLLYWOOD

By 

Published: May 25, 2013

James L. Tolbert was in love. Marie Ross was, too. But she had little interest in marrying a man who pieced together his income by hosting parties and concerts in empty buildings. One of his gimmicks: selling food and drink out of an old hearse.

James Tolbert

“He was just hustling,” said Mr. Tolbert’s son, Tony. “She said he needed to have some kind of career. She said, ‘doctor, lawyer or Indian chief.’  ”

Mr. Tolbert, a high school dropout, chose option 2, and went on to become one of the first black lawyers to represent black entertainers in Hollywood and to play a central role in an early effort to improve the way blacks were portrayed on film and to increase their numbers behind the scenes.

Mr. Tolbert, who was 86 when he died on April 22 in a hospital in the Los Angeles area, grew up surrounded by entertainers. His grandfather Willis Young was an anchor of the Los Angeles jazz scene in the 1930s, and the great saxophonist Lester Young was an uncle. After he graduated from Van Norman Law School in 1959, Mr. Tolbert began building a four-decade practice rooted in his family’s connections.

His clients included the trumpeter Harry (Sweets) Edison, the actor and comedian Redd Foxx, and the singers Lou Rawls and Della Reese. Some of their success can be traced to the work Mr. Tolbert did as the young president of the Hollywood-Beverly Hills chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in the early 1960s.

In June 1963, only weeks before the March on Washington, the N.A.A.C.P., mounted what some called the March on Hollywood, a political and economic campaign in which the organization promised to picket theaters, hold demonstrations and boycott major advertisers if film studios and unions did not portray blacks in more diverse roles and hire more of them to work in the industry.

At one news conference, Mr. Tolbert urged studios “to have Negroes shown as they are, instead of as caricatures,” and he challenged unions to hire at least one black worker for each production. Some unions later adopted an apprenticeship program but never implemented it, the N.A.A.C.P. said.

Some within the organization criticized Mr. Tolbert for not immediately insisting on advertising boycotts. But he portrayed himself as a moderate, preferring to press his case using practical arguments.

“We Negroes watch ‘Bonanza’ and buy Chevrolets,” he told a group of broadcast and advertising executives in August 1963. “We watch Disney on RCA sets. Jack Benny entertains us, and we buy General Foods products. Our babies eat Gerber baby foods, and we photograph them with Polaroid cameras.”

“We buy all the advertised products,” he added, “the same as you do.”

That September he noted that there had been some, if halting, progress in the kinds of roles black actors were receiving. But two years later the N.A.A.C.P.’s national labor secretary, Herbert Hill, complained that what progress had been made had been fleeting.

James Lionel Tolbert was born on Oct. 26, 1926, in New Orleans. He and two of his sisters moved to Los Angeles when he was 10. He enlisted in the Army after he dropped out of high school.

Tony Tolbert confirmed his father’s death, saying the cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to his son, Mr. Tolbert is survived by his wife of 55 years, the former Ms. Ross; their daughters, Anita and Alicia; two grandchildren, and two sisters, Martha Taylor and Esther Ford.

Tony Tolbert, who is a lawyer himself and an administrator at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, said that his father’s law practice was hardly glamorous, that the entertainment work was just a facet of it. The home phone frequently rang late at night with calls from clients who had been arrested and hoped to be bailed out of jail. The Tolbert house nearly always had guests, some for a night, others for six months. Mr. Tolbert rarely said no.

It had an impact on his son. For the last two years, Tony Tolbert has made his own house in Los Angeles available to a struggling family for $1 a month in rent while he lives with his mother.

“He was a save-the-world kind of guy, for sure,” he said of his father.

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STEVE FORREST, PERFORMER ON FILM AND TV’S ‘S.W.A.T.’

ABC, via Photofest

Steve Forrest, far left, as Lt. Harrelson in the 1975-76 ABC series “S.W.A.T.,” with his fellow actors, clockwise from top, Mark Shera, James Coleman, Robert Urich and Rod Perry.

Published: May 23, 2013

Steve Forrest, a strapping actor known to television viewers as Lt. Dan Harrelson on the 1970s action series “S.W.A.T.,” died on Saturday in Thousand Oaks, Calif. He was 87.

His family confirmed the death on Thursday.

A younger brother of the actor Dana Andrews, Mr. Forrest divided his career between the large and small screens. His early film credits include “So Big” (1953), based on the Edna Ferber novel, in which he played the adult son of Jane Wyman and Sterling Hayden; “Heller in Pink Tights” (1960), directed by George Cukor, in which he portrayed Anthony Quinn’s rival for Sophia Loren’s affections; and “The Longest Day” (1962), in which he played an American captain confronting D-Day.

In the 1950s and for decades afterward, Mr. Forrest played guest parts on a string of television shows, including “The Twilight Zone,” “Bonanza,” “Ironside,” “Gunsmoke” and “Dallas,” on which he had the recurring role of the poseur Wes Parmalee.

“S.W.A.T.,” broadcast on ABC from February 1975 to June 1976, followed the fortunes of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics unit. As the unit’s leader, Mr. Forrest’s character, known as Hondo, often uttered the trademark line “Let’s roll!” before taking the wheel of the team van and racing to the latest emergency.

Mr. Forrest made a cameo appearance — as the team van driver — in the 2003 feature film version of “S.W.A.T.,” which starred Samuel L. Jackson as Hondo.

William Forrest Andrews was born in Huntsville, Tex., on Sept. 29, 1925, the 12th of 13 children of Charles Andrews, a Baptist minister. After Army service in World War II, in which he fought at the Battle of the Bulge, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a major in theater and a minor in psychology.

He took the stage name Steve Forrest early in his career to distinguish himself from his brother.

Dana Andrews died in 1992 at 83. Mr. Forrest, who lived in Westlake Village, Calif., is survived by his wife, the former Christine Carilas, whom he married in 1948; three sons, Michael, Forrest and Stephen, all of whom use the last name Andrews; and four grandchildren.

His other film credits include “Prisoner of War” (1954), opposite Ronald Reagan; “Flaming Star” (1960), in which he played Elvis Presley’s half-brother; “North Dallas Forty” (1979); and “Mommie Dearest” (1981).

On Broadway, Mr. Forrest portrayed an Ivy League-educated aspiring prizefighter in the musical comedy “The Body Beautiful,” which ran for 60 performances in 1958.

For British television, he starred in “The Baron,” a well-received espionage series of the mid-1960s in which he played an antiques dealer moonlighting as an undercover agent.

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RAY MANZAREK, KEYBOARDIST AND A FOUNDER OF THE DOORS

Michael Ochs Archives, via Getty Images

“We knew what the people wanted: the same thing the Doors wanted. Freedom.” The Doors around 1966. From left: Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore and Jim Morrison.

By 

Published: May 20, 2013

Ray Manzarek, who as the keyboardist and a songwriter for the Doors helped shape one of the indelible bands of the psychedelic era, died on Monday at a clinic in Rosenheim, Germany. He was 74.

Matthew Peyton/Getty Images

Mr. Manzarek in performance in Manhattan in 2004.

The cause was bile duct cancer, according to his manager, Tom Vitorino. Mr. Manzarek lived in Napa, Calif.

Mr. Manzarek founded the Doors in 1965 with the singer and lyricist Jim Morrison, whom he would describe decades later as “the personification of the Dionysian impulse each of us has inside.” They would go on to recruit the drummer John Densmore and the guitarist Robby Krieger.

Mr. Manzarek played a crucial role in creating music that was hugely popular and widely imitated, selling tens of millions of albums. It was a lean, transparent sound that could be swinging, haunted, meditative, suspenseful or circuslike. The Doors’ songs were generally credited to the entire group. Long after the death of Mr. Morrison in 1971, the music of the Doors remained synonymous with the darker, more primal impulses unleashed by psychedelia. In his 1998 autobiography, “Light My Fire,” Mr. Manzarek wrote: “We knew what the people wanted: the same thing the Doors wanted. Freedom.”

The quasi-Baroque introduction Mr. Manzarek brought to the Doors’ 1967 single “Light My Fire“ — a song primarily written by Mr. Krieger — helped make it a million-seller. Along with classical music, Mr. Manzarek also drew on jazz, R&B, cabaret and ragtime. His main instrument was the Vox Continental electric organ, which he claimed to have chosen, Mr. Vitorino said, because it was “easy to carry.”

The Doors’ four-man lineup did not include a bass player; onstage, Mr. Manzarek supplied the bass lines with his left hand, using a Fender Rhodes piano bass, though the band’s studio recordings often added a bassist.

Mr. Densmore said, via e-mail: “There was no keyboard player on the planet more appropriate to support Jim Morrison’s words. Ray, I felt totally in sync with you musically. It was like we were of one mind, holding down the foundation for Robby and Jim to float on top of. I will miss my musical brother.”

After Mr. Morrison’s death, Mr. Manzarek strove to keep the Doors together, led his own bands and continued to influence the Los Angeles underground. He produced “Los Angeles,” the 1980 debut album by the leading Southern California punk band X. But he also kept returning to the music of the Doors, rejoining Mr. Krieger in 2002 in a band whose name became the subject of a long legal battle with Mr. Densmore over use of the Doors’ name. Manzarek-Krieger, as the band was finally named, had more dates booked this year, Mr. Vitorino said.

“I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today,“ Mr. Krieger said in a statement. “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.“

Mr. Densmore had also hinted publicly that the surviving Doors might reunite. “The Doors are back on their hinges,“ he told the talk-show host Tavis Smiley earlier this month.

Mr. Manzarek was born Raymond Daniel Manczarek Jr. on Feb. 12, 1939, in Chicago and grew up there on the South Side, taking classical piano lessons. In 1962-65, he attended film school at the University of California in Los Angeles, where he met Mr. Morrison, a fellow film student who was writing poetry.

In a chance encounter on Venice Beach during the summer after graduation, Mr. Morrison mentioned that he had some possible song lyrics; they included “Moonlight Drive,” prompting Mr. Manzarek to suggest that they start a band. “Ray was the catalyst, he was the galvanizer,” said Jeff Jampol, who manages the Doors and the estate of Mr. Morrison. “He was the one that took Jim by the hand and took the band by the hand and always kept pushing. Without that guiding force, I don’t know if the Doors would have been.”

Mr. Manzarek had joined his two younger brothers, Rick and Jim Manczarek, in a surf-rock band, Rick and the Ravens, that initially worked with Mr. Morrison. (Rick and Jim Manczarek survive him along with Mr. Manzarek’s wife, Dorothy; his son, Pablo; his daughter-in-law, Sharmin; and three grandchildren.) But two musicians Mr. Manzarek met in a transcendental meditation class, Mr. Densmore and Mr. Krieger, ended up becoming the Doors, named after the Aldous Huxley book on the psychedelic experience, “The Doors of Perception” (quoting William Blake).

They honed their music through club dates in Los Angeles, including a residency at the Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip. In 1966 they were signed to Elektra Records, two months before they were fired by the Whisky when Mr. Morrison unveiled the crudely Oedipal lyrics of “The End.” They recorded their 1967 debut album, “The Doors,” in a week; it included “Light My Fire,” and an edited version of the song, without a jazzy instrumental interlude, became a No. 1 hit and part of the ubiquitous soundtrack of the Summer of Love and the Vietnam War.

From 1967 to 1971, the Doors had a prolific and stormy career. In the volatile culture of the late 1960s Mr. Morrison strove to test taboos, defying television censorship — singing the word “higher” on “The Ed Sullivan Show” — and drawing prosecution for obscenity. Alcohol and drugs made him unreliable onstage and in the studio, but the Doors would end up recording six studio albums and a string of hits including “Hello, I Love You” and “Riders on the Storm,” which featured Mr. Manzarek’s electric piano. The Doors’ catalog has never left rock radio and has been endlessly repackaged, most recently as an iPad app.

After Mr. Morrison’s death, the band made albums without him before disbanding. In 1977, the surviving Doors reunited to record backup tracks to poetry that Mr. Morrison had recorded; the resulting album, “An American Prayer” sold a million copies.

Mr. Manzarek made solo albums and led the band Nite City during 1970s, and in 1983 he recorded a rock adaptation of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” with the composer Philip Glass. In 2002 he and Mr. Krieger began touring as The Doors of the 21st Century. Mr. Densmore and the Morrison estate sued to prevent them from using the Doors name and eventually prevailed. According to Mr. Vitorino, the Manzarek-Krieger band has made unreleased recordings.

Mr. Manzarek had other projects. He made music to back up the poet Michael McClure, and he worked with the blues slide guitarist Roy Rogers. His last album was “The Piano Poems: Live From San Francisco,” a collaboration with Mr. McClure released last year. His last studio album was “Translucent Blues,” a collaboration with Mr. Rogers that was released in 2011. “He was always stretching boundaries,” Mr. Rogers said.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: May 24, 2013

An obituary on Tuesday about Ray Manzarek, a founding member of the Doors, referred incorrectly to Jeff Jampol, who described Mr. Manzarek as the band’s “catalyst.” He manages the Doors and the estate of the band’s lead singer, Jim Morrison, who died in 1971; Mr. Jampol does not manage “the Doors’ estate.” And an accompanying picture caption misstated the time period of the photograph of the Doors. It was taken about 1966, not about 1970. The caption also misspelled, in some editions, the name that the Doors’ guitarist goes by. He is Robby Krieger, not Robbie. (His given name is Robert.)

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SKYWATCH: AMATEURS AID IN VARIABLE STAR PUZZLE, PLANET TRIO AT SUNSET, AND MORE

NEWS OBSERVING PHOTO GALLERY MAGAZINE ARCHIVE SHOP AT SKY

NEWS
SS Cygni

NASA / JPL-Caltech

Clarity Sought on a Crucial Variable Star

May 24, 2013 | SS Cygni, one of the most-watched variable stars, lies at a distance that’s hotly disputed. The truth will determine whether we understand how these types of variables work. > read more

A Bright Flash in the (Lunar) Night

May 21, 2013 | If you’d been watching the Moon at just the right moment on March 17th, you might have seen a brief starlike flash created when a beachball-size rock slammed into the lunar surface. > read more

The Ring Nebula’s Most Detailed Images

May 23, 2013 | New images from the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit, combined with meticulous processing on the ground, reveal whole new depths to an object you’ve known forever. > read more

Uranus & Neptune: Thin Weather Layers

May 17, 2013 | The solar system’s “ice giants” display surprisingly energetic weather patterns — and a new analysis suggests they’re all confined to a very thin outer layer on each planet. > read more

OBSERVING
Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury on May 26, 2013

The May-June 2013 Planet Dance

May 23, 2013 | A remarkable series of events takes place low in the west-northwest shortly after sunset from late May to late June. It features the tightest three-planet grouping visible without binoculars until 2026 and an excellent apparition of Mercury. > read more

Tour May’s Sky by Eye and Ear!

April 26, 2013 | Saturn rises in early evening and is visible throughout May. And a remarkable gathering of Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury sparkles low in the west toward month’s end. > read more

COMMUNITY

NEAF 2013 Videos Are Here!

May 21, 2013 | Check out our videos from the 22nd annual Northeast Astronomy Forum, one of the world’s largest telescope shows.> read more

THIS WEEK’S SKY AT A GLANCE

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

May 24, 2013 | We’re coming into the peak week for the trio conjunction of Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury low in twilight. On the opposite side of the sky, Corvus eyes two prizes, not just one. > read more

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