If you went by Patricia Kennealy-Morrison’s accounts over the last twenty years (since her memoir was published), then you would think she had been practically silent about her Wun Troo Luv since his death, except for a heartwrenching admission to a few select people (including Jerry Hopkins). And then she came out with Strange Days, which was the ultimate and accurate depiction of their affair, how he thought of her, and the exact nature of their relationship.
Except… there are a bunch of things wrong with the PKM party line.
In fact, there are photos, videos, interviews and whatnot that I’m pretty sure she wishes had vanished forever, because it definitely undermines the image she’s created. She wants us to think she’s a naturally red-haired, powerful GoddessWoman who doesn’t take no crap from any man, no matter how wild or alluring he is, that Pam murdered him, and that their relationship was one of star-crossed lovers thwarted by fate before they could be together forever. But the reality…. yeah, read below.
As a side note, it’s definitely not a good sign about journalists and biographical writers these days that I have managed to completely out-research them without getting out of my chair. Seriously, Mick Wall argues that we should believe Patricia because (boo hoo!) nobody ever has, poor woman. Yet you can catch her in lies, contradictions and inconsistencies very, very easily. So why didn’t he?
Red Or Not?
First of all, let’s talk about hair. PKM likes to say that she is a natural redhead (because Irish). However, most of the photographs of her are in black and white, so it’s hard to tell whether her hair is brown or auburn.
There’s only one “official” picture of her with non-red hair. She had this picture (with better resolution) on her website, showing her with dark hair and playing a piano.
As you can see, she does not have red hair there. She described this as “PK, age 19 (the Morticia phase).” Which wouldn’t be implausible… even though Morticia has BLACK hair, not dark brown, and she would never wear a dress like that. That is, to my knowledge, the only color photo of her pre-Jim/Jim relationship years she released.
And in the first chapter proper of Strange Days, she emphasizes that she has very long auburn hair. This is notable apparently because Morrison had a particular liking for gingers (Pamela had red hair), although it doesn’t seem to have kept him from having relationships/flings with other women like Judy Huddleston, Mary Werbelow, Nico (who dyed her hair red to appeal to him), Edie Sedgwick, and various other non-redheads.
But did she actually have red hair?
There is absolutely no angle from which that could look auburn. It’s definitely dark brown, without even red highlights – and it looks roughly like the hair in the earlier photo. Pretty clearly that is her natural color, rather than the red that she features in so many post-Morrison pictures.
And no, she didn’t dye her hair after this, and thus it was red when she met Morrison. Nor did she dye her hair brown and then dye it back to its natural color before she met him. She describes her hair as being auburn BEFORE this, when she first met Morrison, and then describes the experience of the panel discussion a few chapters later.
And she specifically talks about this in the fourth chapter of her book. She mentions the name of the program specifically, states that she had never been on TV before, mentions the layout of participants (she was the only woman, there was a black man and two white men), describes the tunic we see above (a very nice tunic, I think) and the hairstyle she had on the program. So this is NOT a different show, or different panel discussion. This is the same one.
And lest anyone think that someone took a picture of her and photoshopped the hair, or that that isn’t really her, here’s the actual video that the picture is taken from, where she is shown exactly as she looks above. And her name is specifically mentioned. Booyah.
Skip to 1:40.
I can only assume that Kennealy-Morrison assumed it would be lost in the ethers of time, since her website was defunct before youtube.com became a thing. Well, it wasn’t. And now everyone can see the awkward fact that reality is not lining up with her published account.
It also DOES line up with Janet Erwin’s account of her brief friendships with Patricia and Jim (ending for different reasons), which paints a far less dramatic but also far more plausible picture of their romance. What does Erwin say about her hair? She says that Patricia had “waist-length brown hair” and states that during a horse-riding excursion, I get a skittish little sorrel called Rose, Patricia a docile dark bay. We giggle at the way they seem to have chosen our horses to match our hair color. Later in her account, she encounters Patricia and I realized she’d dyed her dark brown hair red, and the combination of red dye over natural dark brown had produced a color virtually identical to my natural dark red, whether she’d intended it to or not. AFTER Morrison’s death. That was apparently the last time they encountered each other in person… and seeing how Patricia acted, I can see why.
I know, it’s a little detail and not an essential one. But it does demonstrate that yes, Kennealy DID lie about at least one thing about herself in her book, and it was thing she specifically depicted as being attractive to Morrison. If she lied about that… what else did she lie about?
There is also a certain interview that Kenneally really, really wants people to forget. Completely.
That is an interview she gave for the book Rock Wives: The Hard Lives and Good Times of the Wives, Girlfriends, and Groupies of Rock and Roll, by Victoria Balfour.
This was a book about the wives and paramours of major rock stars – people like Anita Pallenberg, Angela Bowie, Jo Howard, Bebe Buell, Vera Ramone, etc. It was published way back in 1985, before the Doors movie, Strange Days, or Kennealy-Morrison turning her life into the Legend Of Jim And Patricia. So this was what she had to say about her relationship… back then.
And Kennealy was one of the people in it. She has referred to it obliquely, but never mentions Balfour or the title because… well, it would make it too easy to track down the book and read what she actually says. Here’s what she has to say in Strange Days:
And so when I am asked for the second time to speak for publication concerning Jim and me, I am perhaps a little more easily persuaded than I might, or should, have been. This time it is a friend of my friend David Walley who is doing the asking, for a book she is writing on women who get involved with rock stars. Not perhaps the format I’d have chosen, but hey, I’m not writing the thing…I do not know her personally, but he speaks well of her; and indeed, when she comes to my apartment to interview me she is smart, sympathetic and friendly.
But when her book at last appears, in 1985, I am devastated yet again. She seems to have had a hidden agenda all along: the bleak and stereotypical scenario that nice college-educated middle-class Catholic girls just have to pick bad boys to fall for, giving up all claim to any career or indeeed personhood of their own in the process.
Is that what the interview says or implies? Absolutely not. Nothing of the sort. You can read it yourself at the above link (and yes, I have it saved off just in case someone tries to delete it). If anything, it happily trumpets that she was Jazz & Pop’s editor, and that she was now publishing books.
But she has reasons for not wanting people to read this. Very simple ones: this book was published five or six years before Strange Days and the drastic revision of her role in Jim Morrison’s life. At that time, PKM seems to have been content to simply be the second-string girlfriend, and the only woman who (to anyone’s knowledge) had gotten Jim Morrison to even sorta kinda maybe marry her.
So she says a LOT of things that are completely opposite what she would later allege about the relationship:
- “… he was just one of those people who changed his mind a lot.” muses Patricia. “You never knew where you were. There was no consistency, but inconsistency.”
- “He could be the unadulterated creep, the pig man of L.A. He could be incredibly cruel. I don’t know how he made me happy.”
- “As soon as a relationship got trying, he would get crazy and run away from it. I used to think, when things got really hairy, `Well, doesn’t he want to keep me?’ Apparently not, if it means work.”
- “I think he was losing all sense of judgment at this point [SK: when he left for Paris]. Our relationship had gotten so weird with all this other stuff.”
- Patricia doesn’t know how seriously Jim took the ceremony (“probably not too seriously”), but to her, going through the ceremony was “like being validated the way I wanted to be. It was a very private thing for me, a bond I wanted to make with this person.”
- If Jim were alive today, would Patricia put up with all the stuff that Jim used to pull on her? “Never in a million years!” she answers vehemently. “No way. This wasn’t any kind of liberating relationship! He called all the shots. And the worst part of being with him was that I never knew whether I was going to see him again. I never asked him, `When am I going to see you again?’ I was afraid to hear what he might say.”- Victoria Balfour, Rock Wives: The Hard Lives and Good Times of the Wives, Girlfriends, and Groupies of Rock and Roll
Notice that when Kennealy bitches about this interview, she does not say she was misquoted, or that any of the information in it is FALSE. She tries to deflect people from reading by insisting that there’s some misogynistic agenda at work, coloring the whole focus of the interview… but she can’t deny that she said all those things.
And that there is the biggest reason why people should not believe the epic romance she describes in Strange Days: because she herself debunked it.
Who/What Killed Jim?
One particular detail that PKM absolutely loves to mention over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over is her claim that Pam killed Jim Morrison, and should be regarded as morally culpable for it.
She kind of vacillates about what she exactly thinks Pam did. Sometimes she claims that Pam is guilty because… well, she was there, and so was her heroin stash, therefore it’s her fault if anyone used it. Sometimes she tries to claim that Pam did it deliberately, because she so totally knew that Jim would leave her for Patricia.
But then… there’s this video.
And in case you’re curious, this came out in 1991, since the end of it has the newscaster saying that the movie will come out in mere days. In other words, pre-Strange Days.
And what does she have to say about his death in this? “It was the alcohol that got him in the end.”
And that’s not exactly a surprising conclusion. Morrison was drinking heavily and habitually by the time he died. Pretty much everyone who does even the most cursory research on him knows that he did do drugs, but that booze was something he also did a lot of. And no matter what you think caused his death – respiratory failure, heroin, etc – the booze probably contributed in a big way by weakening his body, especially if he suddenly went off it.
But it does leave the question… what supposedly changed in the SINGLE YEAR following this interview? It’s not like she could have gotten lots of new, important information in that time, since Pamela had DIED several years before. She tries to excuse this away in Strange Days by declaring that she didn’t trash Pamela before because “I didn’t know then she had been the proximate cause of Jim’s death, did I… Besides, I didn’t trust the interviewers to get it right.”
Yes, you JUST HAPPENED to find out “the truth” right before releasing your own book, in which your entire viewpoint shifted… and for the Legend Of Jim And Patricia, there can be no other real serious love for anyone else. That’s a very convenient change.
Yes, I know in Strange Days she declares that she read Alain Ronay’s account of the aftermath of Jim’s death, and that this instantly convinced her of Pam’s guilt. But you know what? I’ve read Ronay’s account; I suspect when the book was published, it was a little harder to locate, so PKM could put whatever spin she wanted on it. And it hardly supports PKM’s obsessive, almost crazed allegations. Pam comes across as ditzy and out-of-it in the story, but not the conniving murderer or constantly incompetent junkie PKM tries to claim she is.
And no, I don’t consider “taking a nap after someone exhibits signs of illness” to be murder. Neglect, but not murder. Especially if the person who dies said not to call a doctor because they were feeling better.
Furthermore, she notes that Ronay is a liar and has been for decades… and yet when he comes out with a big confession that points the finger at Pam (A DEAD WOMAN WHO COULD NOT DEFEND HERSELF), she believes it completely. Even though it’s just in time to get his fifteen seconds after a major movie comes out. Wow, I wonder why. Seriously, Ronay’s account is very strange, with hints about foul play from Pam with little actual evidence to support it. And frankly, he seems abnormally concerned about the police suspecting foul play for an allegedly innocent man. I honestly started to wonder if Ronay himself was somehow involved in Jim’s death.
And having rooted her whole “Pam killed him” argument in quicksand, PKM then backs it all up with… hearsay about Pam claiming she killed Jim, with no sources. Furthermore, she assigns several motives to Pam’s actions that neither she nor anyone else could ever confirm or even know.
So yeah… she claims to have OH-SO-CONVENIENTLY received IRREFUTABLE PROOF (from a liar, about a woman she hated, for events she was not present for) in that one year between this interview and her book’s publication (never mind the writing of it)… which is also conveniently the same period of time when the troubled, unstable, he-didn’t-really-take-it-seriously relationship she described in Rock Wives suddenly became an epic love for the ages.
That sounds very legit.
I’m sorry, but you don’t go straight from “the alcohol killed him” to “Pam killed him with her evil junkie whore self!” like that based on the twenty-years-later account of a very shady man known for lying. You ONLY do that if you already wanted it to be true, and are using anything you can find to shore it up.
And I suspect that Patricia Kennealy-Morrison wishes she had never given this interview. Why? Because not only does it cast doubt on her own veracity (since she later claims to have been keeping her real opinions on her sexual rival secret) but it also means that she was claiming that his alcoholism was a plausible reason for his death. Which is rather different from the “he SO obviously died from evil heroin from Pamela, who was an evil junkie whore! Anyone who thinks he was an alcoholic or suffered from asthma is stoopid!” stance she takes now.
The Tale of Tiffany
Who is Tiffany, you might ask? It’s the contemptuous name that PKM gives to a certain lady that both she and Jim Morrison were briefly friends with in the months before his death. Her name is Janet Erwin.
Apparently Ms. Erwin received news that Patricia had written about her in Strange Days (with the name changed to Tiffany to avoid a lawsuit, I assume). How is Ms. Erwin depicted in the book? A promiscuous, fluttery groupie who is terrified of Patricia, because Patricia almost killed her in a rage, because she is a Strong Pagan Woman, dammit. Nobody makes her mad without suffering for it!
So in 1999, Ms. Erwin produced her own take on those events, which she called Your Ballroom Days Are Over, Baby.
Yes, I’m aware that this is a she-said-she-said scenario, and that both women have reasons to tell their story in a certain way. And no person can recount their past with 100% accuracy and objectivity. But having read them both… I’m more inclined to think that Erwin’s story is the one you should believe, because it’s much more PLAUSIBLE. It doesn’t feel as melodramatic or cinematic like Strange Days, which is full of scenes that feel like they came straight out of Hollywood.
There are several incidents in this that do line up with Strange Days… technically. Things like Patricia’s pregnancy and abortion, her trip to L.A., the encounter with Pamela, the earthquake, Jim hiding the knives, etc. are all there. And she talks about the things she heard of from Patricia’s own mouth, like Patricia going to Miami to confront Jim about her baby, or her handfasting.
But the difference is that she has some details that PKM does not have in her own story. For instance…
- Erwin says that she stumbled across PKM’s journal, and discovered that PKM was not sure that Jim was the father of her baby. So she had an abortion, and wanted to try again so she could DEFINITELY have his baby.
- Hell, she had even written out birth announcements for a never-to-be-conceived daughter.
- The descriptions of PKM’s natural hair color, and the fact that she dyed it red later on. See above.
- PKM constantly doing spells to try to keep Jim from leaving her.
- Also doing spells against Pamela.
- Her melodramatic gestures don’t exactly impress people, and she even claims she was “crazy” at the time. Then she sticks Valentines on Morrison’s car.
- The practically-having-sex-in-the-greenery scene (which is used to make Janet look promiscuous) turns out to be two drunk people collapsed in a flowerbed.
- PKM’s Kill Bill rampage where she nearly murders Janet becomes a rather farcical scenario where she throws a fit at Janet and ineffectually hits her until Janet shoves her on her backside in the tub before running out crying.
- Jim declaring that he doesn’t believe in witchcraft.
- Jim rejecting Patricia sexually.
- PKM tries to challenge Janet to a duel.
- Patricia called up Janet and rambled about how the two of them and Pamela were “three widows.”
- Her friend/ex-boyfriend David Walley blamed a lot of her wacky behavior on her witch stuff.
- Patricia had a faux suicide attempt (took pills, then notified people).
So why do I find Erwin’s story so much more plausible? Well, there are two reasons.
One is that her story FEELS much more real. Her descriptions of time spent with Jim and/or Patricia feel like actual events that could have happened, with lots of awkward, embarrassing stuff for everyone involved. That goes for Patricia especially, because her theatrical gestures and Anita-Blake-esque personality in Strange Days (inhumanly confident, aggressive, intimidating, unapologetic, smarter than everybody else) just aren’t realistic. And neither are most of the scenarios she creates.
The other reason is… as far as I know, PKM has never once commented on this article. Ever.
This is a woman who wrote a rambling, several-pages-long screed on her website about a person who wrote a book about Jim and Pamela, merely because she was outraged at the book’s existence. She was screeching up and down the place about how outrageous this was, what an offense it was to darling Jim, and even making bizarre references to attacking the author with a sword. Not kidding.
But a person she once knew, who openly and explicitly refutes many of the things she says in her memoir? From her hair color (proven!) to what Jim thought of her, from her child’s paternity to Pamela’s place in Jim’s life? Not a word.
That, to me, says more than any actual refutation ever could. Much like the Rock Wives interview above, she doesn’t dare actually mention it.