Jim Morrison’s Fame Led Dad to Offer Resignation From U.S. Navy
The sister of Doors singer Jim Morrison said their father, a decorated flag officer in the U.S. Navy, offered to resign as his son became a counterculture icon.
George Stephen Morrison served from 1938 until 1975, retiring as a rear admiral with 15 career decorations, including honors for valor and merit. He fought in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
In a recent interview with the Del Mar Times, Anne Morrison Chewning recalled that her older brother had been known for misbehavior long before he found fame with the Doors. “Jim was loads of fun,” she said. “He would do pranks and silly things, and he would get us into trouble on the Navy base.” She added that, on one occasion, their mom wouldn’t allow him to enter their home until he cut his long hair. “I think that was the last haircut Jim got for a long time,” she said.
Even though the first song Morrison wrote was a collaboration with his pianist father, Anne said that George “just didn’t understand Jim’s poetry, and he was clearly not into rock ‘n’ roll.” At one point, the officer wrote a letter to his son, telling him to “to give up any idea of singing or any connection with a music group because of what I consider to be a complete lack of talent in this direction.”
Anne – who compiled an upcoming book of Morrison's writings – added: “I only heard this later, but my dad offered to resign from the Navy if what Jim was doing was upsetting to the Navy – and my dad loved the Navy! It was really special to him, and he didn’t want anything to upset the apple cart with the Navy. But, in the end, he didn’t have to resign.”
Both of Morrison’s parents outlived him by decades, and although they were estranged at certain times, Anne said the singer told people they were dead in order to protect them from his world. On the subject of the Doors song “The End,” which refers to a character killing his father and sleeping with his mother, Anne noted that "people would whisper to me: ‘Are your parents upset about ‘The End?’ And I’d say: ‘Not in the least. The lyrics are just a Greek myth.’ Jim did it in a new way, and I loved the drama of it.
“After my dad retired in San Diego, he studied ancient Greek. Jim’s tombstone in Paris was being vandalized, and people were taking pieces of it. So, Dad had a new tombstone for Jim made with the words, in Greek: ‘True to his own spirit.’ I think that’s what Dad ultimately thought about Jim, and he wanted it immortalized on Jim’s tombstone.”