Jim Morrison’s sister Anne Morrison Chewning has reflected on The Doors frontman pretending that his family were all dead.
The musician was found dead in the bathtub of his Paris apartment in 1971 at the age of 27. His official cause of death was listed as congestive heart failure thought to be brought on by a heroin overdose.
Morrison’s sister Chewning has spoken to The Daily Beast in a new interview to promote The Collected Works of Jim Morrison, a book containing her late brother’s notebooks and musings, poetry, screenplay ideas and lyrics.
The Doors star’s relationship with his family was not straightforward. He was brought up in a military household and his father George didn’t understand his son’s music career, Chewning said. After Morrison left Florida and went to California to study film at UCLA in 1964, he began saying his parents and siblings were dead, describing himself as an orphan.
Chewning told the publication she believes Morrison told the lie to keep his counterculture lifestyle separate from his more traditional family. “It was always my belief that he did it to protect my dad who was moving up in the Navy, and to keep his life separate, not to shake it up on both sides,” she said.
“My dad was kind of a classist; he didn’t go far outside of his range. When he left the Navy, he studied ancient Greek so he could read the Bible. He really didn’t understand the music. People used to say, ‘It’s just noise.’ He knew [Jim] was famous, and my mother kept a whole stack of newspaper articles and magazine articles about Jim. They were paying attention, but they didn’t get it.”
Within the journals, it is revealed that Morrison had been planning to give up music for filmmaking.
“End w/fond goodbye & plans for future – not an actor, writer-filmmaker,” he wrote. “Which of my cellves [sic] will be remember’d. Goodbye America, I loved you.”
The Collected Works of Jim Morrison is out on 8 June.