Angels Dance and Angels Die
by Patricia Butler, a recent biography of Jim Morrison and his wife Pamela Courson Morrison, has engendered quite a bit of controversy.

According to recent Internet postings by Butler the book is selling very well, which is wonderful news because Butler has generously pledged the profits to a scholarship in Pamela Courson Morrison's name at Orange
High School.

Patricia Butler at a 1998 book signing

We read of her pledge on January 13, 1998 on the Doors' newsgroup, alt.music.the-doors. Butler was responding to what appeared to be a hostile query:

She stated, "I have made it clear since the beginning that money generated by this book will be used to establish the Pamela Courson Morrison Gift of the Muses Award at Orange High School (it was originally planned for UCLA, but change[d] to OHS because there's already a Morrison scholarship at UCLA). I don't mind if you don't want to buy the book--I think it's a little pricey myself. But don't think that you're somehow hurting me by doing this. All you're doing is shrinking the scholarship fund. I get a paycheck from my employer every two weeks regardless."

On December 4, 1998, someone asked if Butler would divulge the name of the person to contact about the scholarship. Butler posted this response:

"She's a very nice woman in a very nice company. Your contacts with me have been nothing but hostile and threatening. There's not a chance in hell I'm going to put you in touch with her so you can do the same thing to her. If you have a sincere interest in contributing then send an inquiry to Angels Dance and Angels Die, ....and you'll be mailed information."

We did a DN Power Search for other "scholarship," "money" and "charity" postings by Butler on that board and found several other occasions where Miss Butler mentions this fund. Click here for further references to the Pamela Courson Scholarship Fund with links to the actual postings.

  We clearly read that 1) the profits from the book have been pledged (see additional postings) to a scholarship fund 2) the scholarship has been set up with a contact person (presumably at Orange High School since they are the recipients), and 3) if people don't buy her book the scholarship will be the loser because there won't be any profits to disburse. A pledge, by definition is a promise to give, who exactly has Patricia promised to give the profits from the book to? In an effort to find out, we decided to investigate her claims.

We called Orange High School and spoke to Ms. Gerard, the school counselor, and the bookkeeper, Ms. Pineda. These women are the only contacts for donations, bequests, gifts and scholarships at Orange High School. Ms. Gerard had never heard of Patricia Butler or her book and had never been contacted in any way by Butler or her representatives about such a scholarship.

Ms. Pineda, when asked if Butler or anyone representing Butler or Schirmer Books had been in touch with her, said "No, not at all. In fact, I have some scholarships monies here for other organizations or other people who have passed away, or whatever. I've never heard anything from them [Butler or her representatives]."

We contacted Butler's publisher, Schirmer Books. When we asked to speak to a publicist for Patricia Butler's book, Nancy Moran assured us, "For all intents and purposes, that would be me." We asked her specifically, "We understand from her postings on the [Doors'] newsgroup on the Internet that she's donating all her proceeds she gets from the book to some sort of scholarship fund. Is Schirmer Books in on this or is that something she's doing herself or do you have anything to do with that?" Moran replied, "I have to tell you really I don't know anything about that. You would have to contact Ms. Butler through her website. That's not something we're actually doing."

As Ms. Moran suggested, we contacted the author by email to clarify the situation. Miss Butler's complete response to our inquiry about her scholarship fund was:

"You'll forgive me if I question both your motives and your sincerity. I've never solicited for public funds. If people want to contact me, they can do so using either the email or snail mail addresses listed on my website, which is www.angelsdance-angelsdie.com. I'll be happy to answer any questions folks might have on an individual basis."

Miss Butler, the question remains: Why are you encouraging the public to buy your book so that the profits from the sale of your book will go to a scholarship fund in Pamela Courson Morrison's name, when, until we called, no one at Orange High School had ever heard of you, your book, or the scholarship fund?


photo credit - Ida Miller
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