With her fire and ice beauty, lovely opulence, and soft smile, Pamela Susan Courson was a muse, style icon, and enigma of the sixties. She was born on December 22, 1946 in Weed, California to former Navy officer "Corky" Courson and his wife, Penny. She had an older sister, Judi. Little is known about her adolescence, but it is known that she did well in school until high school, where she started skipping and her parents were contacted for truancy. At age sixteen, she and a friend got an apartment in L.A., where the Sunset Strip scene was booming. Rumour has it that during this time Neil Young penned "Cinnamon Girl" and "The Needle and the Damage Done" about her. She enrolled at UCLA to study art and in 1965, she met the Doors' lead singer Jim Morrison at the London Fog. The two hit it off immediately, and Pam inspired much of Jim's poetry (which turned into songs) from then on, such as "Blue Sunday", "Indian Summer", "L.A. Woman", "Love Street", "Orange County Suite", "Twentieth Century Fox", "Queen of the Highway", "We Could Be So Good Together", and "Wild Child" (there are many more). Pam was extremely fashion-conscious, and in 1968 (with Jim's financial help) she started a gorgeous boutique, called Themis. They had a very tumultuous relationship - on one hand, Jim referred to her as his "cosmic mate", wrote songs about her, and financed Themis while she supported his dreams of becoming a serious poet; on the other hand, they had drug-fueled fights and cheated on each other. In the great scheme of sixties romances, they had what would be called "free love" and many around them declared them made for each other. Ray Manzarek said: "They were like the same person. They were opposite sides of the same coin, the same person as a male and as a female . . . They were perfect for each other." Once the Doors achieved fame in 1967, Jim was one of the most wanted bachelors, and it seems inevitable that he had encounters with many groupies and other girlfriends. Jim soon tired of his fame though, and he and Pam left L.A. for Paris in 1971. Pamela found Jim dead of an overdose on July 3, 1971. The exact circumstances of his death remain a mystery, and his entire estate was left to Pam (the Morrisons and Coursons would battle that out later). The next years of her life were marked with pain from Jim's death, and her behavior became increasingly erratic. She became a recluse, living with two friends in L.A. On April 25, 1974, at age 27 she was found dead of an overdose. Many assume she was a junkie since Jim's death, however, there was only one mark on her arm and one needle found, suggesting that maybe not everything was as it seemed. In any event, Jim and Pam are reunited, wherever they may be.
(Thanks so much to the AMAZING Pamela Courson Tumblr for allowing me to use photos from exclusively their site!)