The Estate of Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison died on July 2 1971, from a heroin overdose with an estate worth $400,000. Some years before he died, Morrison created a will leaving everything to his common law wife, Pamela Courson, and if she failed to survive Morrison by three months, then his assets would pass to his brother and sister.

After Jim Morrison died, his estate was tied up in litigation in probate court. Women came forward claiming that Morrison was the father of their children. The other members of the Doors sued the estate claiming that there were outstanding cash advances that had been paid to Morrison.

In early 1974 the court recognised Courson as Morrison’s heir.  Courson died in April 1974 without a Will therefore under intestacy law Jim Morrison’s estate comprising a quarter of the Doors future royalty income, and rights in Morrison’s image passed to her parents.

Morrison’s parents litigation for a share of the estate ended several years later in an out-of-court settlement with the Morrison’s taking half of the royalties and the Courson’s controlling the rights to manage and control Morrison’s image, music, and royalties.

In the early 1970’s, things like a persons image and personality rights were not considered particularly important, at the time intellectual property law provided that royalties from Morrison’s lyrics would have ceased in the mid 1990’s however, this has been extended by legislation until at least 2041. Today there is a growing market for products the bear a celebrities likeness.

If Pamela Courson had made a Will she could have directed her estate in a manner that reflected Jim Morrison’s wishes. As it was Mr Courson who controlled Morrison’s image, music and royalties disliked him, however he did a lot to encourage the Morrison mystique by entering into commercial arrangements to exploit his likeness. Morrison’s parents did not have a close relationship with him before he died, with Morrison claiming that his parents were dead yet received half of his royalties.

10 Replies to “The Estate of Jim Morrison”

  1. Well Sadly but True Jim would have lived long after his time if he wouldn’t had been involved with a junkie, due to Pam’s addiction of Heroin he crossed that line for her to be a part of her life N ultimately died because of a drug addict girl friend. She was trash N never diserved any royalties nor her family N all should have went to Jim’s family

  2. It is what it is!
    Jim knew exactly what he wanted, what
    he was doing, & how things would inevitably turn out.

  3. It is what it is!
    Jim knew exactly what he was doing,
    how he wanted things, and obviously knew how everything was going to inevitably
    turn out

  4. Jim Morrison was an alcoholic/drug addict and self destructed without any help from Pamela Courson, but agreed she didn’t help his addiction and eventual demise. As to who should have inherited his estate, it probably should have gone to charity as he hated his parents and Pam certainly wasn’t a worthy recipient.

  5. Jim was attracted to Pam because she mirrored his own self destructive tendencies. They were to peas in a Pod in many ways. Jim was never going to live to a ripe old age with or without Pam.

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