Pam’s life after Jim’s death.
After Jim’s passing, Pam returned to the States and went to live with her friend publicist Diane Gardiner who kept Pam out of the public eyem with the help of the journalist Ellen Sander. Ellen remembers Pam: “She had a very lyrical, high-pitched voice; she was pretty, she was sweet – I never heard her say any unkind word about anybody, which impressed me. sweet-needy. That’s my description of her. She was sweet and needy.” Pam told Ellen, who was seven months pregnant: “I wish we’d had a baby. I wish I was pregnant too”. Ellen recalls: “She was devastated about what had happened and what was going to happen to her.”
Pam stayed with Ellen for weeks at her home in Sausalito, but then she moved with Diane Gardiner at Muir Woods and with Sage as well, the golden retriever she had shared with Jim and she usually visited her old friend January Jensen who lived near by. She stayed there over a year. January Jensen recalls: “Pam once told me “You know, I just have no desire to live without Jim; I can’t live without him” and I said “C’mon now!” and I gave her a big hug, I knew what she was feeling”.
Randy Ralston was a twenty-three year old film student attending at UCLA who met Pam at Cafe Figaro in Beverly Hills. Randy Ralson Recalls: “As soon as we [Randy and his friend George] sat down at our table, I noticed a girl sitting alone, giving me some eye dalliance. So I inmediatelly got up and went over and introduced myself and said, “would you like to join us?” She was the slender, attractive young woman with her vivid red hair cut just above her shoulders. Pam told them she had some films Jim did in their trips to europe but she hadn’t a projector, so Randy – with the projector in his hand- took Pam at her house. He recalls: “She had a lovely house, a big Spanish-style place. Not only is she beautiful, but a rich girl to boot.” They spent long time watching the Super 8 films again and again and Pam invited Randy to stay all night at her home.
The next morning seemed idyllic to Randy: “We woke up in the morning and she fixed breakfast. She fixed bacon and eggs and squeezed orange juice, and we sat and fed the birds outside the window.” That day Pam went to live with Randy. “We had great time, we cooked, we sat in the backyard. We would eat gourmet food, we would go to the movies, we would walk Sage in the park. I like to do yoga, and she would encourage me to keep up my routine of morning and evening meditation, and going to play tennis and stuff like that. It was pretty idyllic.” they spent great time together until one day they heard a song by The doors on the radio, then Pam got depressed and after that, Pam’s mood would brighten temporarily, but then she would sink into depression once again. Randy Ralston didn’t realized Pam was Jim Morrison’s widow so he didn’t understand her, but he got tired of her changing moods and they split up. Pam left home and went to live in an apartment she found on Sycamore. Pam call him and she asked him if he wanted to go with her to a concert at the Palladium.
Randy Ralston went with Diane Gardiner to pick up Pam. Randy recalls: “She was all dressed up and looked unbelievably gorgeous. It was bizarre. Diane would be whispering in my ear as people came up to pay homage to Pamela, the rock and roll princess. She really wanted me to know who I’d thrown out of my house.”
Little by little Randy met again with Pam to see his and her films, to listen to the music, to parties… At one point Randy and Pam went to Las Vegas with an other couple and they talked about getting married: “We always were really very enamored of each other, but I don’t think anybody could fill the boots of Jim Morrison. I don’t think there was any guy who could do that in her life for her.”
In December 1973 Randy and Pam were preparing things to make a camping trip, they were very happy until Pam talked about her family. She had made a trip to Utah to meet her sister Judy and she had told to her parents bad things about Pam, Pam felt so hurt and she decides not to spent Christmas with her family, Randy tried to convince Pam to go with her family but she had made the decision of staying with him. Pam turned twenty-seven that month.
The following images of Pam are from 1972. These images were taken from a French program from 1995 called Memories Of A French Ambassador. The footage appears to show segments from two different days. According to some researchers, the first clip shows Pamela at an outdoor party held by the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles during a Bastille Day celebration on July 14, 1972.
The second segment shows Pamela being filmed by someone at a park. She then sits on the ground and begins talking to whoever is behind the camera.
The following pictures are by Phil Barnett, who met Pamela at her boutique through a mutual acquaintance that had supplied her with marijuana. It was through this connection that Mr. Barnett also met Jim Morrison and later became friends with the couple.
In the years following Jim Morrison’s death in 1971, Mr. Barnett maintained close contact and was later romantically involved with Pamela. They lived together for a period of months and Mr. Barnett has several unpublished photographs in his personal collection that were taken during the period between Morrison’s death and her own later demise of a drug overdose in 1974.
On April 25, 1974, Pam died of a heroin overdose at the Los Angeles apartment she shared with two male friends. Tere Tereba, who was an old friend of Jim and Pam, and appeared in the Themis Photo sessions , witnessed Pam’s body being taken away on a stretcher. “As fate would have it I did see her, by coincidence, numerous times (albeit at a distance): she died in LA—in an apartment on N. Sycamore directly next door to the building where I was living at the time. One night an ambulance awakened me. Only later after reading the morning paper did I realize that the ambulance was carrying the body of Pamela Courson. She was DOA, 3 years after Jim. There was no mystery surrounding her death.”
Pam was 27 years old, the same age Jim Morrison died. Her parents intended that she be buried next to Morrison at Pere-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, and listed this location as the place of burial on her death certificate, but due to legal complications with transporting the body to France, her parents had her remains buried at Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana, California, under the name “Pamela Susan Morrison”. After her death, her parents Columbus and Penny inherited Morrison’s entire fortune, but their executorship of the estate was later contested by Morrison’s parents, George and Clara Morrison. In her funeral, The Doors said that nobody wore black clothes. Ray Manzarek played some songs that Jim composed for Pam such as “Orange Country Girl”.
The following is Pamela’s death certificate
Pamela’s autopsy report
Text on this page is courtesy of:
Photo’s courtesy of:
© Randy Ralston
© Phil Barnett
© Memories Of A French Ambassador documentary
Pam’s grave photos, death certificate and Autopsy Report: I have no idea who to credit. I saved those grave photos and autopsy scans from a forum a long time ago and kept them in my flash drive. I forgot the name of the person who uploaded them. If anyone knows his or her names so I can credit them, contact me. Thank you.