30th Anniversary of Jim Morrison's Death

ByJamey Keaten

P A R I S, Jul,3 -- On ordinary days, a few hundred fans flock to JimMorrison's grave in eastern Paris, leaving behind flowers andpoetic scrawled messages.

Today, thousands were expected to turn up at Pere-Lachaise cemetery to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of the mythicsinger of The Doors. Police will be on watch for outbreaks ofrowdiness that have marked similar anniversaries in the past.

"It's important to not get too excited," said Thierry Bouvier,the cemetery's director. "We aren't going to kick out the ones whoare just dead drunk."

Between 10,000 to 20,000 fans were expected to turn up, saidMarie Arnal, a spokeswoman with the Paris parks department, whichoperates Pere Lachaise.

Trying to Keep the Day Calm

On most days, hundreds of visitors make the pilgrimage toMorrison's grave. Under normal conditions, one security officerkeeps watch, and sometimes cameras are focused on the site.

"The word is out that it's the 30th," said JacquelyneLedent-Vilain, a London-based executive for record label Elektra."The Doors' flame is still shining."

In 1991, the 20th anniversary turned unruly, prompting police todisperse fans with tear gas. Five years ago, police closed thecemetery early to the disappointment of hundreds of fans.

Ledent-Vilain said she doesn't expect rowdiness: "I've heardthat people will just go smoke a joint, drink something and kind ofjust talk among themselves."

Enduring Youth Hero

Morrison, who was 27 when he was found dead in the bathtub ofhis Paris apartment on July 3, 1971, continues to reap devotionfrom thousands of young people inspired by his rebelliousness.

His face and brown mane still adorn T-shirts, and the band'srecords continue to sell into the millions each year.

Cemetery officials said they don't have figures on how manypeople come to Pere Lachaise just to pay tribute to the Doors frontman. But about 1.5 million people visit the cemetery every year tosee the graves of Morrison and other artistic notables, includingplaywright Oscar Wilde, singer Edith Piaf and composer FredericChopin.

Police and cemetery officials said the number of people visitingthe Morrison grave has declined over the years. There was a boostin 1991 with the release of The Doors by filmmaker OliverStone.

Tribute Planned for Anniversary

As the 30th anniversary approached, speculation re-emerged thatthe lease on Morrison's cemetery plot would expire July 6, 2001.That would require exhumation and transfer to the United States.

Cemetery officials say he has a permanent place at PereLachaise.

"It is totally unfounded," said Henri Beaulieu, assistantdirector with Paris' Central Cemetery Service. "Jim Morrison isn'tmoving."

Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek and band publicist DannySugerman, who co-wrote the best-selling Morrison biography No OneHere Gets Out Alive, will take part in the commemoration inParis.

They plan to show a one-hour special on Morrison, a 1967 videoclip of the song "Break on Through," and footage of the band thathasn't yet been aired for the public.

The Doors produced six albums from 1967 to 1971. Among their tophits were "L.A. Woman," "Love Me Two Times," "Light My Fire,"and "Riders on the Storm."

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