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James Douglas "Jim" Morrison, 1943 - 1971

portrait of Jim Morrison

Born: 8 December 1943, Melbourne, Florida
Died: 3 July 1971, Paris, France

Morrison's father was in the US Navy, later becoming the youngest admiral in the fleet, so the family moved frequently. They were living at Albuquerque, New Mexico when his sister was born four years later, and at Los Altos, California the following year when his brother was born. Morrison started high shool at Alameda, graduated from George Washington High School across the country at Alexandria, Virginia in 1961. With no plans for college he moved in with his paternal grandparents at Clearwater, Florida and took classes at St Petersburg Junior College, transferred to Florida State University at Tallahassee, then set his sights on cinema and graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles, receiving a degree in Theater Arts. Living on the beach, often sleeping under the boardwalk at Venice, California, he met a classmate, Ray Manzarek, and they decided to start The Doors in 1965. Drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger were recruited and they were successful playing at clubs including the Fillmore East and the Whiskey a Go Go. The band's name comes from Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception, his memoir of life with mescaline. The Doors signed with Elektra in 1967 and released their eponymous album, including the single "Light My Fire", which hit #1. Morrison was the front man and primary lyricist for the first six albums, although Krieger wrote Light My Fire. Morrison was a voracious reader and had published two volumes of poetry, as well as having made two short films. On leave from the band in 1971, putatively to get over his drug and alcohol use, he was found dead in the bathtub of his Paris apartment. As there was no sign of foul play there was no autopsy, various accounts of his death suggest congestive heart failure, heroin overdose, and severe lung damage from asthma. Some reported that he was bloated in his last months, indicative of congestive heart problems, he was coughing up blood in the days before his death, and his common-law wife was a heavy heroin user, so a combination of all three seems likely. His tomb is reputed to be the fourth-most-visited site for tourists at Paris.

Biography from Wikipedia and NNDB

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