Born on December 8, 1943, Jim Morrison died in Paris on July 3, 1971 at the age of 27. Jim was buried in Division 6 in Père Lachaise cemetery on July 7. In attendance at the burial were Jim’s girlfriend Pamela Courson, Doors manager Bill Siddons, Jim’s friends, Agnès Varda and Alain Ronay, and Jim’s secretary, Robin Wertle.
Fan tributes marked Jim’s grave for the first couple of years until a concrete grave curb was installed. It wasn’t until 1981 that Jim got a proper headstone on the 10th anniversary of his death. The headstone and bust were benevolently crafted and installed by the Croatian artist, Mladen Mikulin. The bust was stolen in March 1988.
In December 1990, the entire grave was renovated with a new grave curb and headstone. Mikulin’s headstone was destroyed.
The inscriptions on the headstones are Jim Morrison 1943–1971 and James Douglas Morrison, 1943–1971, Kata Ton Δaimona Eaytoy respectively.
As you can see in the photos, the grave, bust and the neighbouring graves were seriously defaced over time. One of the facing mausoleums was even dismantled. The graffiti was removed several times but kept coming back. In 2004, to combat the desecration, cemetery officials put up metal barricades around the site which drastically changed the vibe at Jim’s grave. For better or worse, I’ll let you decide.
The current trend is to attach love locks, friendship bracelets and stickers on the barricade. And then there’s the gum tree. WTF? I have no idea why this got started. Gross.
In the spring of 1981 Mikulin completed an extraordinary portrait sculpture, which was then–overcoming international administrative problems—successfully placed on the fore-mentioned grave together with the base stone on which Jim’s name was carved along with the year of birth and death. This was on 4th June 1981, just a month before the 10th anniversary of Morrison’s passing away in Paris.From the Mladen Mikulin, The Portraitist of Jim Morrison.
July 3, 1981 — For the 10th anniversary of Jim Morrison’s death, Doors’ members Ray Manzarek and John Densmore in Père Lachaise pay tribute (3m15s).
The bust was stolen in March 1988
“Anticipating a post-Doors movie tourist boom after its release in March, work has begun on overhauling Jim Morrison’s plot in the Père Lachaise cemetery, Paris. For a long time, Old Leather Keks’ final resting place has provided a makeshift off-licence, graffiti canvas and lavatory for visiting Lizard types, but now the unsavory debris has been cleared and a handsome new headstone has been erected. Jim would, no doubt, turn in his grave, if he’s there.”December 1990 / Photo © Robert Norman
Doors singer’s parents finally make peace with their rebel son, 20 years after Jim Morrison’s death they fly to Paris to clean up rock idol’s trashed graveStar Magazine, May 7, 1991
After 20 years, rock legend Jim Morrison’s parents have made their peace with the memory of their famous son.
Steve and Clara Morrison—who deplored Jim’s sex, drugs and rock’n’roll lifestyle as leader of the rock group, The Doors—recently paid a visit to his Paris grave site.
Disgusted by graffiti and other litter near Jim’s grave, they took steps to clean it up a few months before the anniversary of his death.
They’ve also installed a new bronze plaque on the grave’s headstone with a Greek inscription that reads: “Faithful to his spirit.”
It was a dramatic turnabout for the Morrisons—who stopped speaking to their son years before he died, and have never said a word about him publicly since the. Jim used to tell people that his parents died in a car crash. The lyrics in one of his famous songs, The End, includes the phrase: “Father, I want to kill you…” After hearing it, his dad Steve—an admiral in the U.S. Navy—was so outraged that he never referred to his son’s music again.
Clara phoned Jim to invite him back home one Thanksgiving, if he would first cut his hair to please his father. “I don’t want to ever talk to her again,” Jim said after he hung up.
When his mother later attended one of The Doors’ concerts, Jim refused to see her. And one report claims he was buried in Paris because his dad refused to pay to have the body brought back to the U.S.
When The Doors movie was filming, director Oliver Stone asked the Morrisons for help, but they refused to read the script or let Stone portray them in the film. They later relented and offered Stone some of their son’s unpublished poetry.
Jim was born in 1943, the oldest of three children. He left home to study film at college, but dropped out and formed The Doors. By the time the group was famous, Jim had lost touch with his family.
Morrison was found dead in his bathtub on July 3, 1971, by his girlfriend Pamela Courson. Cause of death was listed as heart failure, but some say it was a massive overdose of heroin. Pamela died of an overdose in Hollywood three years later and the truth disappeared with her.
Since then, the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris has been trashed by thousands of Morrison fans who guzzle beer and play tapes of The Doors music next to Jim’s grave.
Even the bust of him that once sat on the headstone has been stolen.
July 3, 1991
A riot broke out on the 20th anniversary of Jim Morrison’s death.
In 1991, the 20th anniversary turned unruly and prompted police to disperse fans with tear gas. Five years ago, police closed the cemetery early to the disappointment of hundreds of attendees.AP Archive
Dear Mladen,Postcard from Danny Sugarman to Mladen Mikulin, 1992
Sorry it has taken me so long to get in touch with you. Thank you for the bust you made, once, and hopefully, for the one you will do again. I’m not for the defacing, graffitti [sic], steal the bust for fans mentality. I think Jim deserves more respect than that. The bust gave Jim’s final resting place the dignity it deserved. I hope you can do it again. Legally, my and the Doors hands are tied, or else we would have done something by now. Only Jim’s family can authorize a placement on the grave. I hear the put some sort of plaque down but another bust would be beautiful. So, thank you from myself and the Doors and sorry about the delay getting back to you. Stay in touch, please.
July 3, 2001
On the 30th anniversary of Jim Morrison’s death, Doors’ keyboardist Ray Manzarek pays tribute to Jim Morrison in Père Lachaise cemetery.
“Guarding Jim Morrison’s grave is normally a job for one security guard but today, on the 30th anniversary of his death, it’s job for the Paris police as hundreds of mourning Morrison fans gathered to pay their respects to their Doors hero.”AP Archive
On the 40th anniversary of Jim Morrison’s death, Doors’ keyboardist Ray Manzarek and Doors’ guitarist Robby Krieger pay tribute at Jim Morrison’s grave.