Sunday, 3 July 2011


May 20, 2013 UPDATE: The Doors keyboardist and founding member Ray Manzarek died of cancer today around 3:30 p.m. ET at the RoMed Clinic in Rosenheim, Germany, surrounded by his family. He was 74. Manzarek spoke with Three Dollar Bill a few years ago about whether Jim Morrison was really bisexual. As always, Manzarek gave good quote. RIP.

Jim Morrison died on July 3, 1971, at the age of 27.  Had he lived, I think he would finally, happily be out of the closet.

I was dealing with my own closet when I was 15 years old back in 1981. I was a student in a tough Montreal-area high school packed with 4,500 other teens when I read the sensational, over-the-top Jim Morrison bio No One Here Gets Out Alive. I even sported a Morrison-circa-1967 haircut. That same year Rolling Stone put Morrison on their cover with the banner headline, “He’s hot, he’s sexy, he’s dead.” I remember looking at Jim and thinking, “I wouldn’t mind sucking his dick.”

Bugs in high school
But Jim was straight, so he might as well be dead. I mean, you couldn’t pick up a book or magazine without reading how many women the Lizard King fucked before his heavy drinking prevented him from even getting it up. But after reading Boston-based rock biographer Stephen Davis’s 2004 book Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend, I was not surprised to discover that Morrison was, in fact, a closeted bisexual.

Davis writes that Morrison copped Marlene Dietrich poses (aha!) while posing in his leathers in the early days of The Doors, and Morrison’s girlfriends often bitched that he liked to take them up the ass. (Gives new meaning to the Doors’ cover of Willie Dixon’s Back Door Man, doesn’t it?)

“He really preferred women from the backside,” Morrison friend Miranda Babitz explains in Life, Death, Legend. “[Morrison’s longtime girlfriend] Pam [Courson] was pissed off about that, but she stuck with it. It was part of the reason she was always snarling at him. One time when [I was] living in her apartment with them, she got pissed off at him because she thought he was running around with someone else, so she took his favourite vest that he liked to wear onstage and wrote FAGGOT on the back of it with a Magic Marker.”

It wouldn’t be the last time Courson called Morrison a faggot.

Rumours of Morrison’s taste for men made the grapevine when he hung around Andy Warhol’s Factory crew. “I first heard about Morrison’s bisexuality on the street in New York City on the off, off outer fringes of Warholism,” Davis told me after his Morrison bio was published. “You never knew what to say because they said everybody was gay.”

What is beyond dispute, though, is Morrison’s affair with a Hollywood hustler in June 1968. Davis writes that Morrison “reportedly had a fleeting relationship with a well-known male prostitute who worked along the strip. This hustler then tried to extort money by threatening to expose Jim’s secret sexual habits. Jim’s lawyer, Max Fink, arranged for a meeting between the hustler and an intermediary, who was a private detective and leg-breaker. The hustler was left bleeding and missing teeth in an alley behind a motel near the Los Angeles airport, and the blackmail attempt stopped.”

Meanwhile, Elliot Tiber, the fabulous gay man who made Woodstock happen (Ang Lee’s 2009 movie Taking Woodstock is based on Tiber’s own memoirs), met Morrison at a NYC party. “Morrison was stoned and he and I messed around a bit,” Tiber told me. “He definitely strayed.”

Morrison, as everybody knows, was an angry young man. (He was just 27 when he died of a heroin overdose. His dealer, Frenchman Jean De Breteuil—who also supplied Keith Richards and sold Janis Joplin her fatal dose—fled to Morocco with his then-girlfriend Marianne Faithfull, where they told my friend Roger Steffens, now the chair of the Grammy Awards reggae committee, what really happened that fateful night. Scroll down for that complete story.)

Roger Steffens today
Anyway, Morrison’s efforts to subvert authority make all the more sense when you consider that in those pre-Stonewall days there wasn’t an alternative to the closet. I tell Davis I believe Morrison’s anger was fueled by his inability to deal with his sexuality.

“I think that’s astute,” Davis says. “I didn’t really think of that. I think he had [more of] a heterosexual life than a homosexual life. His heterosexual life was so public. There were likely quite a few boys. I’m going with my gut: why wouldn’t Jim Morrison be gay and so what if he was?”

When I interviewed Pamela Des Barres on the eve of her 60th birthday, Pam —author of the classic tell-all I’m With The Band: Confessions of a Groupie, and the supergroupie who had affairs with Mick Jagger ("He made androgyny acceptable"), Jimmy Page ("One night he gave me mescaline and didn't take any so he could be in control") and Keith Moon ("I'd have to recuperate for two weeks after he left town, he was so outrageous!")— told me, "I never witnessed Jim being bisexual, never even heard rumblings of it. [But] he was so fucking stoned I don't think he even knew who he was with at a certain point in his life. He couldn't even see. We'd see him staggering down the street and he'd fall down and nobody would even pick him up.”

Meanwhile, Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek hates Davis’s book. “Woof! This is a strange story by a weird guy turning Morrison into an Oliver Stone-like stranger,” Manzarek told me over the phone from his Los Angeles home back in 2004. “I don’t know the Jim Morrison he writes about. There are some things that are true. Why the guy wrote this book I have no idea unless he wanted to get into that supposed bisexual action himself. It’s Freudian.”

Davis shoots back, “I was doing a radio interview [to promote my book] and one of the DJs said, ‘Ray Manzarek is really slagging your book and no way was Jim bisexual,’ and I didn’t know what to say. Well, bring it on, Ray.”

Manzarek tells me, “If Jim was a bisexual I never saw him with a beautiful young man as [Hollywood gay hustler turned literary icon] John Rechy would write. I read City of Night—it is Hollywood, after all. I had no awareness [of Morrison’s alleged bisexuality]. I always saw him with girls.”

That, of course, is the problem with the closet, whether one is gay or bisexual: you only know what you see.

I have no doubt Morrison loved men as much as he loved women, but I give the last word to Manzarek, the man who discovered Morrison and to this day maintains the myth of the Lizard King. “I never had sex with Jim,” he says, “and you know what? Neither did you. But what a fine and thick member he had!”


How did Morrison really die? My good friend Roger Steffens, chair of the Grammys reggae committee and nicknamed Ras Rojah by his old friend Bob Marley, met the French count Jean De Breteuil in Morocco (Steffens summer job in 1971 was to paint the Marrakesh chateau owned by De Breteuil’s mother).

Roger and Bugs
Anyway, De Breteuil – a 22-year old heroin dealer who fancied himself a “dealer to the stars,” supplied Keith Richards and sold Janis Joplin her fatal dose of heroin – fled to Morocco with his then-girlfriend Marianne Faithfull the day after he sold Jim Morrison his fatal dose of heroin on July 3, 1971.

After De Breteuil arrived at his family’s chateau, he told Steffens about Morrison’s overdose. As Roger explained it to me, "I thought he was full of shit because there was nothing in the international press yet."

The next day Morrison’s death was all over the news. As for De Breteuil, he would die of a massive heroin overdose later that same year. He was 22 years-old.


  1. Interesting blog post. I've read the rumors that Jim was bisexual, but as a girl, I'd like to think he wasn't, but it doesn't matter one way or the other. Although it will cause controversy--who doesn't like a good debate--I reposted your piece on -- I hope you don't mind.

    1. He was not bi-sexual. He was not gay. He did not die of a heroin overdose. In fact, he never used it. He was very outspoken about his objection to it. DeBreteuil was Pam Courson's dealer. She was spending more time with him than she was with Jim in Paris. In fact, Jim's friend, Alain Ronay was called by Pam and wondering why she was there. Her stash was disposed of. She died of an overdose 3 years after Jim passed from heart failure. If you do a bit of research, you would know that this is how he died. If he ever used it, not a soul ever observed it. Davis' book was a joke, as anyone who knew Jim would tell you. It's disgusting to see such rubbish published by people who print rumors and flat out lies. For Christ's sake, Ray was a storyteller and liked to embellish, yet even he laughs about this!

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  2. having read this book twice, every story about jim's bisexuality is based on testimony linked to someone who "heard from max finks" it's so here-say that it's laughable but i guess some people will take here-say as truth....jim wasn't gay or bi so rest easy doors fans.....

    1. "jim wasn't gay or bi so rest easy doors fans....."? Why would that change anybody's opinion of his music even if those "rumors" were true?

    2. This is not about music. Is about the sexuality of one of the biggest sexual icons of th 20th century. And yes, the opinion would change or at least would be affected.

    3. Absolutely.sorry folks but the thought of a teenage idol of mine cus I thought that was how to get the pussy..with a dick up.his ass
      Yes that would effect me.

  3. Morrison was with way too many women. Gays/bisexuals are never satisfied with the opposite sex. And just for the record...back in the 60s, calling someone a "Faggot" didn't equal homosexuality in those days. That word "Faggot" was a slang word that every little teeny bopper used in the 60s to bag on someone else...It was equivalent to calling someone a jerk.. The derogatory word naturally evolved...but as kids we called people we didn't like the word "Faggot" and it didn't mean we thought them gay. So Pam writing something like that on his vest wasn't an indication of anything OTHER than she was really ticked off with him. No surprise there. I hope everyone in this generation understands that the use of this word had different meaning in the sixties.

  4. I have always suspected Jim was gay. His deal with girls was a cover. He needed to get clean and sober and then come out of his painfully lonely closet.

    1. We are you there and did you see Jim Morrison having sex with another man? If you weren’t there and did not see it with your own eyes and if you did not have sex with him yourself you have no right to say anything. It is just gossip.

  5. Sorry gay dude - I don't buy it
    You have no credible witnesses, just gossip, hearsay and speculation
    Tons of straight people like anal sex - it feels good, no pregnancy and no problems: that's why Morrison was always singing the blues cover of "Backdoor Man" (does that mean Muddy Waters was also a closet case?)

    Almost all deeply closeted gays will slip up and expose themselves eventually. All that repression comes out, sometimes in a spectacular manner. But Jim Morrison, even as a terrible drunk in the last years of his life, never slipped up like that.
    Outside of the gay community, which speculates on the sexuality of all attractive celebrities - none of his close friends, family, bandmates or the press have ever presented this view of Morrison.
    Plus Jim Morrison, according to confirmed sources, had terrible hygiene issues. Jim liked to wear leather pants and shirts, but not bathe - so he had incredible B.O..

    That's not to say, Jim Morrison didn't have guilt issues. Jim's dad was a high ranking US Navy Admiral, so Jim had his own issues about not living up to family expectations.

    Sorry - I know this I'm raining on your schoolboy crush, but I'm straight and I had childhood crushes on Kristy MacNicholl and Jody Foster so I know disappointment.

    1. Morrison was allegedly raped by his father. That kind of trauma-bonding easily seeps into an adult's sexuality. Part of the paradox of this is that Jim may have had some periodic homo encounters as a way of acting out childhood abuse- yet still have been completely heterosexual. Seems like between drugs and trauma, this poor soul didn't know what the hell he was doing- much less why.

    2. That is absolutely 100% false! Jim was Not molested by his father! Jim was notorious for his tall tales from childhood on. A gentleman with the initials J.P. met Jim before The Doors took off. He confided his gather had abused him. Jim replied his did do. J.P was drafted and the 2 did not remain friends. J.P.still tells this story. Go look for him doing free "Jim Morrison tours" at Venice Beach. He knew Jim for 5 minutes before Jim was famous. That is where this ridiculous claim originates,

  6. I love Jim. If I met him when he was alive, I'd be one... If I could go back in time, I would want him to be, for my own reasons. I think many bi/gays love him like I do. Once someone is a gay icon, rumors fly. I really hate that. Evidence would show he was a woman's man.

    James Dean is another gay icon that people ruminate on. I don't believe either man was gay. They were just beautiful. Gay people pick their sex symbols, then lie to themselves they have a chance. That turns into public rumors.

    There is nothing wrong with being gay, or straight. Imposing your sexuality on other is. Especially when these people are long gone. Conjecture, and rumors can't be fought by a dead man.

    It does not matter is not quite the answer. I would hate a label on me that is inaccurate. It isn't homophobia to say "hells no, I am not gay".

    I love Jim, and the Doors. I grew up with fantasies. But I never assumed anything. It doesn't matter, but it hurts to be labeled falsely. If they are dead, it is just unfair. Jim was Jim. That was enough. He was a drug sexual in the end.

  7. i believe jim morrison under the influence would let anybody suck his dick. there are many straight men around here will do the same...ive seen it but go out and call every effiminate guy faggot!!