The following is an excerpt from “Wills of the Rich & Famous: A Fascinating Glimpse at the Legacies of Celebrities” by Herbert E. Nass, Esq.
DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH
December 8, 1943 Melbourne, Florida
DATE AND PLACE OF DEATH
July 3, 1971
When rock superstar Jim Morrison died at the age of twenty-seven in a bathtub in Paris, he left a lyrical legacy that is etched into the consciousness of a generation. As the incendiary lead singer for the sixties rock group The Doors, Morrison helped light the flames and fan the fires of that decade. One of The Doors’ first and best-known songs was “Light My Fire,” which became an anthem for the flower children of the sixties. Another song, performed particularly graphically by Morrison, was “The End,” in which the protagonist in the song has an Oedipal encounter with his mother and ends up murdering both of his parents. Strange days, indeed.
Morrison signed his one-page Will in Beverly Hills, California, in the office of his lawyer, Max Fink. Fink is named a co-executor, together with Morrison’s then girlfriend and future wife, Pamela S. Courson. The Will begins as follows:
I, JAMES D. MORRISON, being of sound and disposing mind, memory and understanding, and after consideration for all persons, the objects of my bounty, and with full knowledge of the nature and extent of my assets, do hereby make, publish and declare this my Last Will and Testament, as follows:
FIRST: I declare that I am a resident of Los Angeles County, California; that I am unmarried and have no children.
To his then girlfriend, Pamela S. Courson, Morrison left “each and every thing of value of which I may die possessed, including real property, personal property and mixed properties,” or in other words, his entire estate. If Pamela had not survived Morrison for three months after his death, then the estate was to be left to Morrison’s brother, Andrew Morrison of Monterey, California, and to his sister, Anne R. Morrison of Coronado Beach, California, “to share and share alike.” Neither of Morrison’s parents, George S. Morrison and Clara Morrison, were mentioned in his Will. During his lifetime, Morrison had often stated that both his parents were dead. In fact, they both survived their prodigal son.
Morrison’s girlfriend, Pamela Courson, married Morrison after he had signed his Will. She survived her husband by the requisite three-month period, but died about three years later on April 25, 1974. Pamela Courson Morrison’s father, Columbus B. Courson, succeeded his daughter as administrator of Jim Morrison’s estate and as its sole beneficiary. One has to wonder whether Mr. Columbus Courson had approved of the lifestyle and antics of his daughter’s boyfriend and then husband. As might be expected, attorney Max Fink filed all the legal documents required.
After his death in Paris, Morrison was buried in the famous Parisian cemetery Père Lachaise. He was buried near some of the symbolist and surrealist poets whose writings had inspired his own poetry (with the help of large quantities of a variety of intoxicants). Dead before he was even close to thirty, Jim Morrison left a rock-and-roll legacy of fire and passion that will not be forgotten. As Morrison himself once sang, “I’ll tell you this/ No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.” Jim Morrison did not waste his dawns, his dawns wasted him.
/s/ James D. Morrison
Will dated February 12, 1969