30th Anniversary of Jim Morrison's Death

On ordinary days, a few hundred fans flock to Jim Morrison's grave in eastern Paris, leaving behind flowers and poetic scrawled messages.

Today, thousands were expected to turn up at Pere-Lachaise cemetery to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of the mythic singer of The Doors. Police will be on watch for outbreaks of rowdiness 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 who are just dead drunk."

Between 10,000 to 20,000 fans were expected to turn up, said Marie Arnal, a spokeswoman with the Paris parks department, which operates Pere Lachaise.

Trying to Keep the Day Calm

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

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

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

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

Enduring Youth Hero

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

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

Cemetery officials said they don't have figures on how many people come to Pere Lachaise just to pay tribute to the Doors front man. But about 1.5 million people visit the cemetery every year to see the graves of Morrison and other artistic notables, including playwright Oscar Wilde, singer Edith Piaf and composer Frederic Chopin.

Police and cemetery officials said the number of people visiting the Morrison grave has declined over the years. There was a boost in 1991 with the release of The Doors by filmmaker Oliver Stone.

Tribute Planned for Anniversary

As the 30th anniversary approached, speculation re-emerged that the 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 Pere Lachaise.

"It is totally unfounded," said Henri Beaulieu, assistant director with Paris' Central Cemetery Service. "Jim Morrison isn't moving."

Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek and band publicist Danny Sugerman, who co-wrote the best-selling Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive, will take part in the commemoration in Paris.

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

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