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Cover Story: 'Jim Morrison Is Alive'
Cheri Woods inside the West Hollywood apartment where the late Jim Morrison last lived in the U.S.
Cheri Woods inside the West Hollywood apartment where the late Jim Morrison last lived in the U.S.

In West Hollywood, you can now light his fire overnight at his last U.S. residence

Officially, Jim Morrison, the pop culture icon of the 1960s and the lead singer of The Doors, died July 3, 1971 in Paris of a probable drug overdose.

Unofficially, in the past 34 years, Jim Morrison has had more reported sightings than UFOs.

In Los Angeles, a woman who describes herself as a former actress, former Hollywood madam and former jailbird is perhaps the latest claiming that Morrison not only lives — having faked his death with the help of the FBI — but that she talks to him regularly by phone.

“Jim Morrison really is alive,” says Cheri Woods. “He is living with his girlfriend in the middle of nowhere. He still smokes pot and drinks beer. The last time I talked to him, he told me he wanted to meet Billy Idol and that he liked the way Val Kilmer portrayed him in the film The Doors.”

Yes, Cherie Woods is a longtime Jim Morrison fan, whose worship today is highly motivated because she now owns an extremely valuable piece of Morrison memorabilia.

Fifteen months ago, Woods bought the West Hollywood apartment building where Morrison and longtime girlfriend Pamela Courson lived in 1970 and 1971, until four months before his reported death.

“Their two-bedroom apartment is known among The Doors fans worldwide as ‘Jim Morrison’s last known U.S. residence,’” says Woods.

Last summer, after finally moving the last occupants to another unit, Woods began offering overnight stays at the apartment at $200 a night to Morrison fans, who have come from as far away as Italy for the ultimate Jim Morrison roadside attraction.

Last fall, an English production company even brought in some psychics for a seance at the apartment, which is adorned with Doors and Morrison posters — and which Woods has tried to furnish to match the period of the early 1970s.

Morrison himself was a no-show at the seance, says Woods, but they heard the sound of a dog barking outside when one of the psychics asked Jim’s spirit if he had a dog.

“It was the only time we heard a dog barking the entire evening,” says Woods.

For Woods, who won’t give out her age but admits to being a baby-boomer, the Morrison apartment is a godsend when all she was looking for was a home for her 19-year-old daughter, Tiana, an aspiring blues singer.

Woods herself is the ex-wife of Atlantic recording artist Stevie Woods, who had the hit “Steal The Night” in 1981 and who is the son of jazz legend Rusty Bryant.

When the marriage ended, Woods says her life took a downward turn that ultimately led to becoming a Hollywood madam. When she was busted, through a series of jailhouse quirks, she found herself temporary housed on Death Row with some of Charles Manson’s disciples.

It led to a self-published book on her life, Death Row Madam, that she has been trying to sell to Hollywood.

There has been enough income from all her ventures to an investment in real estate, her own real estate license and a condo that she sold to buy the Morrison apartment building — at 8216 1/2 W. Norton — for a low-ball price of $700,000.

In her eyes, the building — which she has named Cheri Amour — is priceless. She has applied for historic designation and is not shy about latching her star to Morrison’s.

Authentication, unfortunately, resides among Morrison and music buffs. Ben Fong Torres, the Rolling Stone rock writer, recalls having interviewed Morrison just months before his death at an apartment belonging to girlfriend Courson on Norton.

A couple of longtime residents at the rent-control building also remember Morrison. One of them even claims to have the coffee table from the Morrison apartment.

The previous owners, however, were not helpful. They refused to turn over old leases to Woods, who is convinced the former owners had no idea who they had living on their property.

“There was one time that Jim and Pamela were late on the rent,” Woods recalls a story she was told by another occupant, “and the owner gave them a three-day [pay rent or leave] notice.

“It was addressed to Mr. Jim Morris.”

Tony Castro can be reached at tcastro@laindependent.com.

Tony Castro Archives - Staff Photo by Gary McCarthy


Reader Opinions
JAN 15 • Hi! I'm reading " Jim Morrison alive' and what I want ti say you: I'm russian pilgrim, who came here (to L.A) in September like hich-hiker through all America ( Charleston, Atlanta, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, Utan, Las Vegas route66) and Atlantic Ocean to my "american idol singing falcetto" (Devid Bowie "Yang American) (I told about my favorite band Sparks, but this way gave me another idol, who I love 30 years - Jim Morrison. There's too much mistics in my live. I came here to see the sity of my drims - L.A., I came here to match my Generation, who was hippy in 70th like me. I came here 'cause " there's hope, there'a dream"... My site Lapilgrim.narod.ru and russian site www.rostowskaja.narod.ru. Thank you. Fantastic L.A.Sorry, I don't speak english.
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