JAMES DOUGLAS MORRISON
James Douglas Morrison was born on 8 December 1943, at 11:55 am, in Melbourne, on Florida's east coast, the first child of George Stephen Morrison and Clara Clark Morrison, a career Navy couple. His astrological chart makes him Sagittarius, Aquarius rising, Moon in Taurus, Venus in Scorpio; he was followed by a sister, Anne, and a brother, Andrew.
After spending his formative years as a Navy brat, emerging with all the usual emotional problems appertaining thereto, he attended St. Petersburg Junior College and Florida State University, finishing his academic career at UCLA in 1965, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in film.
In the summer of that year, he began the only gainful employment he was ever to have -- a singing job with a band called The Doors. He remained with them until March 1971, when he went to Paris, intending to return in the fall to join his handfasted wife, Patricia, in New York, where he was planning to record a solo album.
In the early morning of 3 July 1971, Pamela Courson, a girlfriend and heroin addict, gave Morrison what was to prove a fatal dosage of her own smack -- a drug he hated, and would never on his own account have used -- watched while he vomited blood, and then herself fell asleep in a drug-induced stupor, leaving him to die bleeding in a bathtub. When she finally awoke at dawn to find him, a long delay followed, while the non-French-speaking Courson phoned various friends to get them to summon emergency assistance for Jim -- even, by her own later statement to police, violently striking him several times, presumably in an attempt to revive him; but when the police and the firefighters (who respond to emergency calls in Paris) finally arrived it was too late by hours, not minutes, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Following his death, Morrison's body, packed in ice and wrapped in plastic, was at Courson's insistence ("I'd like to keep Jim that way forever") left in the apartment until the morning of Wednesday, 7 July, when he was at last hastily and secretively interred at Paris's Cimetière de l'Est, popularly known as Père-Lachaise. According to invoices, Courson buried him in a seventy-five-dollar coffin (366 francs), his entire funeral costing less than two hundred dollars (878 francs).
Eyewitnesses -- strangers -- have gone on record that the interment lasted less than eight minutes; the five attendees did not wear black, gave Morrison no service or respectful ceremony, and conducted themselves with gross inappropriateness. Courson was quickly spirited out of France to avoid further inquiry into her involvement in Morrison's death or possible arrest on drug or murder/manslaughter charges, and returned to California. After spending some time in Marin County, north of San Francisco, she went back to Los Angeles, and following a career as a prostitute died of a heroin overdose in April 1974.
Morrison had a long-term, on-again/off-again relationship with Courson, and lesser relationships with numerous other women, but the only woman with whom he ever exchanged wedding vows is Patricia Kennealy Morrison, the author of a very successful series of science fiction books called THE KELTIAD, the first (The Copper Crown) and most recent of which (Blackmantle) are both dedicated to her dead mate. Additionally, she wrote a memoir of her time with him called Strange Days: My Life With and Without Jim Morrison, which if perhaps not the most objective of the books written about him is certainly the best written and arguably the most moving.
He was the author, in his own lifetime, of The Lords, The New Creatures and An American Prayer; after his death, two more volumes of poetry were "edited" and published by the parents of Pamela Courson, who inherited his estate when their daughter, to whom he had left everything in an unrevised 1968 will, died intestate.
In 1991 he was the victim of an alleged biopic called, incorrectly on all counts, "The Doors," directed by one Oliver Stone, and in the years since his death has been subjected to a number of badly written and demonstrably factually incorrect biographies.
Morrison's grave quickly became a pilgrimage site for deranged vandals of all nationalities; calling themselves "fans," they litter the consecrated ground with their trash, deface the tomb of their supposed idol (and all the tombs surrounding) with disgusting graffiti, and even attempt to desecrate his remains by breaking into his grave.
It is believed that his parents, Admiral and Mrs. George S. Morrison, whom he had claimed in interviews were dead, and who took the Coursons to court, claiming rights to their long-estranged son's estate, must remove him from Père-Lachaise by the year 2004 at the latest, because of lawsuits and objections lodged by the families of those buried nearby.
Patricia Morrison has publicly voiced her wish (which was also Jim's wish) to have his remains cremated and his ashes scattered, so that this sort of disgraceful behavior is not repeated elsewhere and he might be safe at last from the dreadful threat of graverobbers; but she despairs of this ever happening.