Jim Morrison: Rock Star and Short-time Seminole

Moody, trippy, obtuse and untamed—these are a few words that are often associated with rock star legend Jim Morrison. However Morrison was more than just a wild personality and lead singer for The Doors. He was a scholar and a Florida State University Seminole—at least for a little while.


In 1962 and before he attended UCLA, Jim Morrison transferred from a junior college to Florida State University where he studied art and psychology. Despite these two areas of studies, Morrison spent most of his time studying film, literature and poetry.

“His whole interest was film,” said Gerry McClain, former FSU film student. “He did some editing work under Werner Vagt [film school operator] and would go to the FSU library to read film reviews in back issues of The Village Voice. Jim also made an 8 mm film on campus—guys peeking around bushes, that kind of thing.”

Morrison even tried his hand at acting when he appeared in a promo for Florida State University. The then 19-year-old was filmed walking to a mailbox to retrieve a letter.

When he wasn’t assuaging his need for film knowledge, Morrison was hanging out with a crowd that was described as bohemian because they liked to wear holes in their pants. They also portrayed the stereotypical “young starving artist.”

But when exactly did he go from film fanatic to successful (not starving) artist? It seems like he would have no time for music due to his intense interest in film. According to McClain, he only ever heard Morrison mention music once while they were at a party.

“He said, ‘I want you to hear this guy. He's really great.’ [Then] Jim put on this record by a singer nobody had ever heard of. It was Bob Dylan.”

His other interests (literature and poetry) were big catalysts and a huge inspiration when it came to his song writing career so it is clear that Morrison’s passion for the arts and his good ear for music lead to a very successful career with the rock band, The Doors.

Jim Morrison proves that you should pursue all of your interests because there is no such thing as knowing too much or being too passionate. His passion showed true Seminole spirit, even if he was only at FSU for a short time.