One of the most disapointing moments in my life, and to be sure there are only a few, happened several years ago in Paris. I had just graduated from college and went about doing the traditional backpack through Europe thing.
When I got to Paris, the only thing I really desired to visit was Jim Morrison’s gravesite. You’ve seen the images of the graffiti strewn pathways leading up to The Door’s frontman’s bust. Presumably there would be bottles of whiskey and half-smoked joints everywhere. At least that’s what I thought.
While there are so many famous people born in Pere-Lachaise Cemetery (Chopin, Comte, Balzac, Yves Montad, Proust and Edith Piaf to name but a few), the only one anybody seems to care about is Morrison’s grave. So much so, that they French officials decided to remove most traces of his burial site. It was moved to an anonymous part of the cemetery, nothing more than a simple stone marking the site. His full name “James Douglas Morrison” and beneath it the years he was born and died.
?Anti-climatic is the word I would use to describe it, being a Doors apologists an all.
It’s evident the pull Morrison had while he was alive and the mythology of his life has created new generations of fans. Part of that mythology was in the 27 year-old’s reluctance to stay in the rock band he formed and made him famous. He wanted a life of a quiet poet in Paris, the city of poet’s. He essentially retired there and died of heart failure in a hotel bathtub. That’s the story anyway.
Since his death in 1971, there have been the requisite stories of Morrison still being alive and faking his own death. However, the latest story to hit the rumor mill is that Morrison died of a heroin overdoes in a Parisian nightclub. Two drug dealers moved his body back to his hotel room.
In a new book, Sam Bernett says that Morrison died in a toilet stall of his club after what he believes was a heroin overdose.
He writes of his shock on finding Morrison’s body: “The flamboyant singer of ‘The Doors,’ the beautiful California boy, had become an inert lump crumpled in the toilet of a nightclub.” Bernett, whose French-language book is called The End: Jim Morrison, says he believes two drug dealers brought Morrison’s body back to his apartment.
Bernett, who was in his early 20s when Morrison died in 1971, went on to become a prominent radio personality, rock biographer and a vice president of Disneyland Paris. Though he was pestered for years by reporters investigating Morrison’s death, he kept his story quiet until his wife suggested writing a book last year.
At around 1 a.m. on July 3, 1971, Morrison went to the club and was joined by two men ? drug dealers who sold him heroin for Courson, Bernett said. At one point, Bernett noticed that Morrison had disappeared. Later, the bouncer broke down the door of a locked toilet stall, and they discovered Morrison unresponsive, Bernett said.
Bernett says he asked a doctor, a club customer, to examine the singer.
“When we found him dead, he had a little foam on his nose, and some blood too, and the doctor said, ‘That must be an overdose of heroin,'” Bernett said. Bernett added that he did not see Morrison take any heroin that night but said the singer was known to sniff the drug because he was afraid of needles.
Bernett says the two drug dealers insisted Morrison was just unconscious and carried him out of the club. Though Bernett says he wanted to call the paramedics and authorities, the club’s owner ordered him to keep quiet to avert a scandal.
Bernett believes the dealers brought Morrison’s body home and dropped it into the bathtub, a last attempt to revive him.
No autopsy was ever performed and Morrison was buried without ceremony or fanfare in the famous Parisian cemetery. This to me, is not unplausible. It begs the question though, why does it matter how Jim Morrison actually died? It’s been 36 years, afterall.
?The Parisian nightclub where this all supposedly took place.