Jim is fundamentally a respectable citizen

Two letters today, both of which concern Jim Morrison, frontman of The Doors, but each at different stages of his tragically short life. The first was lovingly penned by Morrison in 1954, then just 10 years of age, and is an incredibly sweet letter of thanks to his mother for having helped him “face all the many hardships in [his] life.” The second — although written against a murky backdrop 16 years later following Morrison’s “indecent exposure and profanity” charge after a controversial gig in Dade County — is an endearing letter of support from Jim’s dad to Florida’s Parole Commission, in response to their request for “any comments that you would care to make regarding your son’s behavior and his present situation to include in [their] investigation.”

Nine months after the second letter was written, Jim Morrison passed away, aged 27.

Transcripts follow. Both letters can be found, amongst other documents, in The Jim Morrison Scrapbook.


Dear Mother,

As Easter rolls around each year, I think of how you have helped me face all the many hardships in my life. I only wish I could put on paper how much I appreciate the help and love you have given me through my life.

Love, Jim


October 2, 1970

Mr. Robert Disher, Supervisor-District “07”
Florida Probation and Parole Commission
State of Florida Office Building
1350 N. W. 12th Avenue
Miami, Florida, 33136

Dear Mr. Disher:

Thank you for your letter of September 24. I appreciate this opportunity to comment on my son Jim.

I saw him last about 5 years ago during his senior year at U.C.L.A. He was successfully completing his fourth year of college. As in all his academic work through grade school, high school and college, he was an excellent student. While he had always been an intellectual rebel, he had always obeyed and respected authority. In 1965 I began a two year assignment in England. Although I invited him to join us in London after graduation, he declined, to start his own career. Since that time, he has been completely independent of me financially and in every other way.

We have had very little contact with him since that time, due partly to physical separation and partly because of some criticism from me. While in London, I was called by an old friend in California who had been approached by Jim for a loan to finance his first record. Concerned by his appearance, particularly long hair, the friend called me. I, in turn, wrote Jim a letter severely criticizing his behavior and strongly advising him to give up any idea of singing or any connection with a musical group because of what I considered to be a complete lack of talent in this direction. His reluctance to communicate with me again is to me quite understandable.

Since returning to the United States, I have on several occasions made an effort to contact him. One time I was successful in talking with him by telephone. Our conversation was quite pleasant, and I congratulated him on his first gold album, but nothing of consequence was discussed. We have had no direct contact since that time.

However, while we all lived in Calfornia in 1969, Jim’s younger brother and sister visited him frequently and got along famously as they always did during their childhood days at home. Also, an old friend of ours had dinner with Jim in Los Angeles several months ago and reported to us that he was “the same old Jim.”

I have followed his career with a mixture of amazement and, in the case of his performance in Miami, great concern and sorrow. While I obviously am not a judge of modern music, I view his success with pride.

Based on my knowledge of Jim through his 21st year, I firmly believe that his performance in Miami was a grave mistake and not in character. I will always follow his progress with the greatest of interest and concern and stand ready to assist him in any way should he ask.

Thank you again for this opportunity to affirm my conviction that Jim is fundamentally a responsible citizen.

Very truly yours,

G. S. Morrison, Rear Admiral, U.S.N.
1327 South Glebe Road
Arlington, Virginia, 22204