Had he not overdosed in Paris in 1971, Jim Morrison would have been 67 years old this December 8.
The legendary star of the Doors called his childhood “an open sore,” and told his band that he was an “orphan.” Later they discovered he had a mother after all. In 1967, she was sitting in a front row seat her son, “The Lizard King,” had reserved for her in the Washington auditorium. During the show’s climactic number, "The End," he sang “Mother, I want to…” then barred his teeth and snarled “FUCK YOU!” He refused to see her again. Nor did he ever again see his father, a Navy admiral. “Father?” he sang, “I want to KILL YOU!”
George Morrison, the only son of a Methodist laundry owner in Georgia, was a career Naval officer. He had named Jimmy after General Douglas MacArthur and expected his son to follow in his footsteps. Soon after the boy was born in the middle of World War II, his father shipped out to fly Hellcat fighters in the South Pacific. After the war, he was promoted to become the youngest admiral in the history of the Navy.
Due to the admiral’s career, the Morrisons were always on the move. By age four, Jimmy had already lived in five different places, coast to coast. Since his father was gone for long periods, his mother Clara became the disciplinarian. Jimmy grew rebellious. Returning home from duty, the commander, accustomed to thousands of men obeying his command promptly and without question, had no patience with his son’s insubordination and backtalk. He spared no effort trying to get the boy on the straight and narrow.
In disciplining his eldest son, he used a military “dressing down” approach: he would humiliate the boy to submission and apology. When this failed, he got old-fashioned. According to biographer, Stephen Davis, he beat him with a baseball bat. Jim also confided to his lawyer that his father had sexually assaulted him, and that he never forgave his mother for allowing it. His mother dismissed the charge as one of her son’s malicious lies. “In spite of his medals,” said Jim of his father, “he’s a weakling who let her [his wife] castrate him.”