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.

27 Replies to “The Estate of Jim Morrison”

  1. Estranged or not, his family deserved to be sole inheritors, not Courson’s parents. Jacked up.

    1. If Morrison WANTED his parents to inherit anything from him, he would have made provisions for them. Morrison’s parents didn’t get along with him,nor he with them. Under those circumstances, why were the parents given anything. Morrison hated his parents.

      1. I really doubt seriously he hated his parents…I believe he more, or
        less liked to shock people, by telling folks they were dead …watch the video with his Dad & sister…he still communicated with his siblings,and had he lived hope
        fully would have reconciled things with them.His Dad lived 37 yrs from the time Jim died..with the Mom dying 5 or so.years before his Dad…Jim would’ve only been 62 whenever his Dad passed…

      2. It doesn’t matter what a mixed-up, spoiled, dying young man thought about his parents. Had he lived longer and gained maturity and wisdom, it would have been a different story.

  2. 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

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

  4. 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

  5. You would think that since he wasn’t legally married to anybody it would go to his next of kin unfortunately for all of us we’re all broken bubble gum machines and what’s bro can’t fix what’s broke we can’t fix ourselves and other people kind of feel sorry for Mall Pamela Gloria Patricia they were all like two trains meeting head-on what a pity only a person who’s not broke can fix what’s broke cuz he would understand why and how we all got broke in the first place

  6. 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.

    1. You obviously didn’t read or understand. Jim had a will and it all went to Pam but then she died with no will.

    2. He had his issues with alcohol and food, but he was an intellectual, a poet and hated drugs, did not do heroin. Look deeper into MK Ultra and the control and ushering in of lsd and the hippy movement. He was under mind control and used as a guide pig. There is much more to his story.

      1. Thank you Jen, I have heard vague rumors about this… because his father being an admiral in Navy. I am curious about what you have said about MK Ultra, mind control, and Jim possibly being a “control pig?” Have not heard that term before. Intriguing…

      2. Kim and anyone else, Dont believe that crap Jen is saying- Food? Yeah, right, he definitely didn’t have an addiction to food! And that crap abt being a (“guinea” pig, btw, not a “guide” pig), is all a lie, too-so don’t believe it! And he did care about his family, Mom, Dad, and siblings, too!! Just check out the interview with his sister-don’t you think she would know more abt Jim, his life, and everything over dumbos like Jan? I know i do!

  7. His family, whoever is left, should still sue to control his estate. After Courson passed his estate should have gone back to his family, NOT her parents. Her father didn’t even like him. He wasn’t born into that family, didn’t even marry Courson. Sad that Jim didn’t pay better attention to his affairs.

  8. 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.

  9. Since Pamela passed after Jim….would think that there would be a trust set aside for biological offspring, if any…seems like the right thing to do!

  10. Any of you folks ever see the Doors live?
    Obviously you folks know nothing about drug and or alcohol addiction . No amount of intelligence, wit, charm, money, and or education provides immunity; addiction is disease that does not discriminate. It doesn’t care about who you think you are.
    Ya …I saw the Doors 1968 Cobo Arena ,Detroit. The magic, madness and transcendence was evident then .

    1. You are absolutely correct. I saw them in 1968 or 1969. Memorial Collosium, Portland Oregon. Great show. Both Pam & Morrison made they’re own choices. Jim had his reasons for the way he felt about his family.

  11. I heard Jim Morrison suffered from mental illness. He was bi polar I’m assuming. In the 1960s, doctors or psychiatrists did not understand the mental defect and that’s why he experimented with drugs. Maybe his parents were too rough with him and that’s why he had mental health problems. Either way, I thought he was the best back in the 1970s and today. I have to get my fix with the Morrison Band.Once a week I have to hear their music and the keyboard artist is simply the best.This was the era of fantastic music. What happened?

  12. I just think it should have gone after Pamela died as he metioned in his will sister and brother and remove the within 3 months! The lawyer did not direct him well on this!

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