Remembering Jim Morrison
It was 42 years ago today (July 3rd, 1971) that Jim Morrison was found dead in the bathtub of his apartment in Paris, France by his longtime companion, Pamela Courson. The local coroner ruled the official cause of death for the 27-year-old Doors frontman as “heart attack induced by respiratory problems.” Morrison was buried in Paris’s Pere Lachaise Cemetery on July 9th of that year.
On May 20th, 2013, Morrison’s closest musical ally, and most fervent supporter, bandmate Ray Manzarek, died at age 74 in Rosenheim, Germany at the RoMed Clinic following a long battle with bile duct cancer.
The rock world has forever been fascinated by the mysterious circumstances surrounding Jim Morrison’s sudden and early demise. Steve Harris, the senior VP at the time of the Doors’ record label Elektra Records revealed what he knows about Morrison’s death: “It was heroin. So they bring Jim home and he’s dead. And they put him in the bathtub and there’s a knock on the door. Pam goes and opens the door. You know who it is — Marianne Faithfull. She saw what was going on and she split.”
In December 2010 Florida’s outgoing Governor Charlie Crist cleared Morrison’s name just one day after what would’ve been his 67th birthday (December 8th) for his 1969 indecent exposure conviction in Miami. The then-surviving Doors — Ray Manzarek, John Densmore and Robby Krieger — who have long maintained that Morrison did not expose himself, said in a statement that Morrison had nothing to be pardoned for in the first place. They also said that an apology — not a pardon — would have been more appropriate “40 years after the fact.”
Ray Manzarek said shortly before his death that he hoped people will start to eventually see beyond Morrison’s “Lizard King” persona and grow a deeper understanding of the Doors’ music: “Y’know, it’s a worship of Morrison — I understand that. Y’know, he’s dead. It’s like James Dean, y’know — except James Dean stood alone, so you could worship James Dean. But, I mean, Jim was part of a band. The band was called the Doors. Listen to the music, man. The people who worship Jim Morrison so insanely, I don’t even think they know the words, y’know? It’s just the image of Jim.”