Celebrated Rock Icon

Jim Morrison

Lead Singer for the Doors


Controversial Cemetery Tenant

USA Today and E! Online News report that officials at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris are denying reports that rock'n'roll icon, Jim Morrison, will be evicted from his grave when his 30-year lease expires come 2001. This will come as good news not only to the dead icon, who would be forced to find new digs, but also to the thousands of tourists who party there throughout the year.  Unfortunately, to curb the party atmosphere, reports are that around-the-clock guards now patrol the area (see special report at below).  In fact, my good friends and fellow gravediggers Katie and Steve Nowik, who were just at Pere Lachaise in June (2000), said that guards restrict any partying and tributes to Jim can be only of the floral kind.

It's easy to see why Parisian officials are letting The Lizard King remain.  In recent years, Morrison's grave site has become an A-list tourist attraction, second only to the Eiffel Tower.  Up until 1998, Morrison's  fans were free to litter the grounds with beer cans, wine bottles, marijuana roaches, used condoms, and panties, while covering nearby tombs with layers upon layers of graffiti. So, it looks like the longest grave side party on record has come to an end, with no chance for a reprieve.  The images below are from 1991, when visiting Morrison's grave was more of a fun experience than a somber tourist attraction.  Maybe it's time for the United States to bring this expatriate home....I envision a stately tomb in a New Orleans graveyard where a non-stop celebration of Morrison and the Doors can carry on in a fashion Jim would have been proud of!   

"Fighting the Devil Within" - A Greek inscription on Doors' singer Jim Morrison's stone can figuratively be translated as: "fighting the devil within." An appropriate thought considering the personal demons Morrison fought which led to alcohol and drug abuse. Pere-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris. Morrision's Tomb
A Tomb With a View "A Tomb With a View" - A photographer takes advantage of a vacant tomb across from Morrision's gravestone.
"Graffiti Wall" - When I visited Morrison's grave on Halloween in 1991, I found over fifty "mourners" milling about talking, drinking and taking photographs of each other at the grave. Graffiti about the Doors and Morrison covered the surrounding tombs, many of which were abandoned; no doubt left empty by families tired of the continuous circus-like atmosphere. The graffiti is removed annually.
"False Prophet" - From the moment tourists enter the main gate of Pere-Lachaise, they can follow crudely drawn arrows - with the notation "Jim" etched above them - on various gravestones enroute to Section Six where Morrison is buried. A local man with greasy, matted hair and glasses, sat nearest the gravestone, a position of high ranking. I was told he sits at the grave nearly every day, rain or shine. Like the others who come to honor Morrison, he placed his open bottle of beer on the gravestone for a moment, then he indulged in drinking it. This ritual took place countless times by the other "mourners" during the 45 minutes I spent observing the situation. Each of them offered Morrison's spirit a swig before they drank.
Also positioned near the grave was an American-Indian who seemed to keep a constant silent vigil. I found his presence the most haunting as it conjured up memories of Morrison's spiritual connection to American Indians. In the best-selling biography "No One Here Gets Out Alive," Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman recount how a young Morrison believed a Pueblo Indian's soul passed into his body after he witnessed a horrible roadside accident outside Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Morrison Update by Gravedigger
Michele Lanci-Altomare

In October, 1998, fellow Gravedigger Michele Lanci-Altomare of Los Angeles visited Pere-Lachaise and Morrison's grave site. Here's her report:

"No one was there when we arrived, EXCEPT the newly placed eagle-eyed guard (who) stands watch, 24 - 7. You cannot leave anything there except for flowers. My husband was yelled at and told to dump his beer out, and put the empty can in his back pack. He did so, after sharing a swig with Jim, on the actual dirt part of his grave.

There is no trace of graffiti anywhere, except an occasional arrow with “Jim” next to it--pointing wherever. The entire place has been cleaned up, and fun is no longer tolerated. It was really a let down, but I guess it's because of all the defacement that went on all around his tomb. The neighboring tombs had been abused terribly over the years, and I guess that type of inconsideration is what ended Jim's party."

(Note from Grinny: My visit to Jim's grave in January, 2001 found no change in the status quo.  The guard kept order while fans flocked to the grave site.)

Please inform Grinny of any new updates regarding this grave site or if you think America should bring Jim home to rest! Thanks!

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So, What do ya' think?

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