AL Interviews Patricia Kennealy Morrison

(Patricia Kennealy met Jim Morrison in January 1969 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, the day after the Doors had appeared at Madison Square Garden. A tall, attractive redhead, Patricia was then the editor of Jazz & Pop, an influential rock trade magazine. In June 1970, Jim and Patricia were married in a Celtic handfasting ceremony--an event that Oliver Stone later depicted in his 1991 film, The Doors. After Jim's death, Patricia wrote a memoir, Strange Days; she is also a noted science fiction writer whose latest novel, Blackmantle, was published to wide critical acclaim.

AL: What did you think of the Oliver Stone movie which many people, ourselves included, admired.

PM: You mean the world's biggest music video? Jim Morrison, the man I love, the man I married, is nowhere in that film. What you see is a grotesque, sodden, buffoonish caricature, who could never have written the immortal songs he is supposedly being immortalized for. But the worst sin Oliver Stone committed is that you don't care that Jim Morrison is dead at the end of the film.

AL: What was Jim's attitude toward the Doors? Did it change over time?

PM: At first they were a group of struggling artists all equally together. At the end they were four wealthy superstars struggling with a personal group dynamic that was anything but equal. I think by the time Jim left for Paris, it had become more an office relationship than a four way friendship. Jim told me that he never felt he had much in common with Robby or John, and that they felt the same about him. When Jim left LA in March 1971, he left the Doors as well--whether they knew it or not, whether they believed it or not.

AL: How would you characterize Jim's personality?

PM: He didn't handle pain well. But pain for Jim, as for so many artists, was a source of creativity. I think that he thought if he stopped hurting, he'd stop creating...And he was hurtful to others because he was afraid of being hurt himself. He found it hard to accept love because he had never been given very much of it, and did not think himself worthy of love.

AL: Was Jim self-destructive?

PM: Jim Morrison was most definitely not into destroying himself. That said, I must also say that since Jim was an alcoholic and not always in self-command, his instinct for creative adventuring, that edge-walking side of him, often pushed him into the borderlands of self-destructiveness--and sometimes right over.

AL: What was Jim's attitude his last days in Paris?

PM: I had eight or ten cards and letters from him in the three months he spent there. Some were exalted and joyous and others were veiled in despair. The last letter he wrote me was mailed only a few days before he died. He wrote of how tired he was and how much he missed me. "My side is cold without you..." he told me. The letter was to weep for, and I did, and still do.

AL: Did Jim talk much about Pam?

PM: We hardly ever talked about Pamela Courson. She had nothing to do with us. Jim kept his life very compartmentalized. And yes, I absolutely do believe she killed him, and nothing will ever persuade me otherwise. Not premeditated, perhaps--junkies don't think that far ahead--but in an attempt to hook him along with her, or to control him, or punish him for leaving her, as she knew he was about to do.

AL: After twenty-six years, there is still the Morrison legend.

PM: Jim Morrison was a beautiful soul who had a deep sense of the absurd. To him, the thought of being an icon was repellent. He was one of the great iconoclasts of all time. I think he'd probably just laugh about his icon status--and then set everybody straight in that Southern gentleman way I love him for.

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