Those were the days, my friends…
Jim Morrison was found dead in the bathtub of his Paris apartment on July 3, 1971. The legendary lead singer of The Doors and poet extraordinaire was only 27 years old. Incredibly, his death was ruled to be of natural causes, and no autopsy was ever performed. The lack of an autopsy led to much confusion as to how Morrison died, including those who believed that he had actually faked his death. His body was found in his Paris apartment by his then-girlfriend, Pamela Courson (Morrison did not lack for female companionship – he had as many as 20 paternity suits pending against him when he died), who told police that Morrison had overdosed on heroin after inhaling what he thought was cocaine. In July of 2007, Sam Bernett, the then-manager of the fabled Parisian nightclub, Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus, claimed that he knew how Jim Morrison really died. According to Bernett, Morrison died of a heroin overdose in the toilet of his nightclub. His body was then moved from the club to his apartment in order to keep the nightclub from being involved in a scandal.
However he died, Morrison was certainly a most remarkable man who died much too young. His death was the third in a tragic trilogy of rock legend deaths, Jimi Hendrix and Janice Joplin having died the previous year. Their deaths spotlighted the excesses that can accompany stardom, and put a damper on the party that had begun a few years earlier with the Summer of Love.
Like his music, his poetry was remarkable. In The Severed Garden, he seemed to perhaps foresee his own fate when he wrote…
Do you know how pale and wanton thrillful
Comes death on a strange hour
Unannounced, unplanned for
Like a scaring over-friendly guest you’ve
Brought to bed
In 2001 Val Kilmer, in an electrifying performance, portrayed Morrison in “The Doors.”