Pam Courson is one of the known characters in The Doors story but one that is probably the least understood and that is surrounded in more rumor after her death than even Jim Morrison. Courson was Jim Morrison’s “cosmic mate” and common-law wife. Pamela Courson was born in Weed, California December 22nd, 1946 and would have been 67 today.
Courson was Jim Morrison’s muse he wrote songs such as “Love Street” for and about her. She’s there in “Celebration of the Lizard” in the lines “her dark red hair/The white soft skin” references to Courson also appear in “Roadhouse Blues” “keep your eyes on the road/your hands upon the wheel” were reportedly driving instructions Morrison gave Courson, “You Make Me Real,” the coda to “Peace Frog” “Blue Sunday,” and the very autobiographical “Queen of the Highway.” “Orange County Suite” is Morrison’s final ode to her.
Courson was bron in Weed, California, on December 22, 1946, and lived the rock ‘n’ roll much as Morrison did. Before she met Morrison she was rebelling on her own, cutting classes in school, smoking cigarettes and hitchhiking to L.A. It isn’t known when she met Morrison. Oliver Stone’s ‘The Doors” has Jim meeting her on Venice Beach, Ray Manzarek say’s it was at The London Fog. Even before Courson met Morrison, she was interested in design and fashion and with Morrison’s money she opened a boutique on Santa Monica called “Themis.” Morrison invested heavily to decorate the shop, it had feathers on the ceiling, and soon Courson was buying the “hippest clothes from around the world.”
Courson was also Morrison’s equal in daring and adventure, including driving without headlights on Mulholland Drive (a long and winding road in the Hollywood hills). Courson’s and Morrison’s relationship was volatile and they frequently had arguments with Courson throwing plates and cups at Morrison (Morrison said to Danny Sugerman “that chick has one hell of an arm”).Both Courson and Morrison were involved with others but despite these frequent woundings they always came back to each other. Courson was also involved in drugs (as was Morrison) her drug of choice seemed to be heroin. Courson was with Morrison in Paris in the spring of 1971where he died under mysterious circumstances in the bathtub.
After Morrison’s death Pam took it badly and blamed herself for his death. Many think Morrison may have gotten into Courson’s heroin and in combination with the alcohol in his system - it arrested his heart. Ray Manzarek recalled seeing her once after Morrison’s death and all she could do was cry while Manzarek held her.
After Morrison’s death Courson’s life spiraled out of control. She sued The Doors for control of Morrison’s share of the royalties. Some people claim Courson took to prostitution after Morrison’s death. Such claims are unverified and seem to come from those that have an animus towards Courson.
Courson became more involved in drugs, and in an attempt to relive her early years with Morrison, Courson took up with an UCLA film student who had started a band. Shortly before her death Courson was awarded Morrison’s share of The Doors publishing rights. In an almost self-fulfilling prophecy she died on April 25th, 1974 at age 27.
Jim Morrison’s life and career on the Sunset Strip are legendary but Courson was also able to inspire some legend. She’s supposed to have inspired Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl,” and The Eagles “Hotel California” is also said to have been inspired by Morrison’s and Courson’s relationship.
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