11 July 2007

New book says Jim Morrison didn’t die peacefully after sipping a fluttery crimson varietal and listening to some 45’’s...

So the story goes like this: On the last night of Jim Morrison's life, he went to a movie in Paris, listened to records, fell ill and died of heart failure in his bathtub at the age of 27. Romantic and tragic albeit fairly peaceful and mysterious.

But rumours have always swirled around the death of The Doors frontman and, 36 years later, a former Paris nightclub manager is telling a different story.

In his new book, Sam Bernett says that Morrison died in a toilet stall of his club after what he believes was a heroin overdose.

Sadly, that sounds more like how it probably went down.

The former Paris nightclub manager writes of his shock on finding Morrison's body:

"The flamboyant singer of 'The Doors,' the beautiful California boy, had become an inert lump crumpled in the toilet of a nightclub."

Bernett, whose book, written in French, is titled "The End: Jim Morrison," says he believes two drug dealers brought Morrison's body back to his apartment and laid him in his bathtub.

Bernett, who was in his early 20's when Morrison died in 1971, went on to become a prominent radio personality, rock biographer and a vice president of Disneyland Paris.

And though he was pestered for years by reporters investigating Morrison's death, he kept his story quiet until his wife suggested writing a book last year.

"For me it's a very bad memory," Bernett told The Associated Press.

Rumours have long suggested that Morrison died of an overdose and that he had fallen ill at the nightclub, but witnesses did not come forward.

Patrick Chauvel, a noted war photographer and writer, sometimes helped run the bar at the club and he recalls giving a hand to men who were carrying Morrison in a staircase there.

"I think he was already dead," said Chauvel, who considered putting the episode in a 2005 book before his publisher cautioned against it. Chauvel said he thought an ambulance would have been called if Morrison were still alive.

"The guys carried him home and laid him in his bathtub figuring he'd wake up later. They probably didn't know he had overdosed and they were carrying a corpse."

"I don't know," he said. "It was a long time ago, and we weren't drinking only water."

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