Questions surrounding Jim Morrison’s death

Music | July 5, 2021

Source: (Live For Music).

Jim Morrison was a voracious reader and was inspired by philosophers and poets from a young age. He started college at Florida State University in 1962, but in 1964, he moved to Los Angeles and began studying at UCLA. In 1965, he graduated from UCLA, after completing his degree at UCLA’s film school in the Theater Arts department of the College of Fine Arts. While at UCLA, he made several short films.

After he graduated, he lived on the rooftop of the building where a friend from UCLA, Dennis Jacobs, lived. While there, Morrison wrote the lyrics to many of the early Doors songs, and according to Ray Manzarek, he lived on canned beans and LSD. He and Manzarek formed The Doors during that summer, formed the group, and joined Robby Krieger and John Densmore. They chose their name from Aldous Huxley’s book, The Doors of Perception, which was a reference to using psychedelics to unlock the doors of perception.

Jim Morrison in 1969. Source: (Elektra/Wikipedia).

A Quick Rise To Celebrity

Two years after the group formed, they had signed with Elektra, and their first album was recorded within a matter of days. Their single, “Light my Fire,” was a hit and they had success with their next two albums, with Waiting for the Sun hitting #1. They recorded their final album with Morrison, L.A. Woman, and Morrison who had been a drinker for years struggled to deal with the pressures of celebrity. His behavior got worse, including charges that came after he exposed himself during a concert, and worsening problems with alcohol. After finishing L.A. Woman, he moved to Paris in March to be with Pamela Courson, his girlfriend, and to take time off after the charges stemming from his exposure. Courson, a heroin addict who would die three years after Morrison from an overdose, had been living there with Count Jean de Breteuil, a wealthy socialite who was also a heroin addict. Then, on July 3, 1971, he was found dead in a bathtub. No autopsy was performed, officials claimed his cause of death was heart failure, and he was quietly buried in Paris’s Père Lachaise Cemetery.

With Pamela Courson. Source: (Pinterest).

Courson's Shifting Story

According to Courson’s initial explanation, they had gone to dinner and a movie that night before going to bed. Sometime in the middle of the night, Morrison got up to take a hot bath. Eventually, his death was explained as a heart attack caused by a heroin overdose. Over the years, this story has been contested, and questions have arisen about the cause of death because of the circumstances which surrounded it. Bill Siddons, the Doors manager arrived on July 6, but only saw the coffin, and only Courson and Alain Ronay, a friend of theirs, had seen Morrison’s body prior to the burial on July 7. When Siddons returned to the U.S., he told the press, “I have returned from Paris where I have attended the funeral of Jim Morrison. I can say he died peacefully of natural causes … ” Courson did not remember the name of the doctor who signed the death certificate, and his signature was illegible. Courson also lied to the American Embassy, claiming that Morrison had no immediate family, and without immediate family, they were able to get a quick burial. Her story changed several times as well.

Source: (Ultimate Classic Rock).

Other Possible Stories

Sam Bernett, a former New York Times journalist who had managed the Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus club in Paris claimed that on July 3, Morrison had come into the club and met with two drug dealers before going into the bathroom around 2 a.m. When he didn’t come out, Bernett had a bouncer kick the door in. They found him dead, and a doctor, who was a regular at the club, stated that it seemed to be a heroin overdose. Patrick Chauvel, a writer, and photographer working at the club confirmed that Morrison went to the club, but in one account, he stated that he didn’t go to the club to buy drugs. According to Bernett, the owner of the bar didn’t want them to call an ambulance, and he thought the drug dealers must have taken Morrison home and left his body in the bathtub. However, Ronay has argued that this story is not physically possible.

One of the last pictures taken of Morrison. Source: (Bored Panda).

Danny Sugerman, the co-author of the biography No One Gets Out Alive, proposed the theory that Courson was snorting heroin and convinced Morrison to take it, claiming it was cocaine, which was his drug of choice; Morrison was afraid of needles, and earlier he had stated that he wouldn’t take heroin. If this story is true, after Morrison took the heroin, he got sick and died. However, some of Morrison’s friends dispute this theory, claiming that while Morrison was a heavy drinker, he never did hard drugs. Other theories abound. Some claim that he was murdered, others that he faked his own death, and some say that he has been “spotted” in Tibet, Oregon, and the Australian outback.

Tags: Jim Morrison | The Doors

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Linda Speckhals


When she’s not out walking her dog, or taking in a baseball game, Linda loves learning about history, science, and philosophy. She will travel wherever the wind may blow, and happily loses herself in a book, whenever she can. At heart, she is a music loving tree-hugger.