January 6, 2005 by

Danny Sugerman

41 comments

Categories: Writers/Editors

dsugerman.jpgDanny Sugerman was 12 years old when he attended his first Doors concert and became the group’s biggest fan.
A year later, the teenager was hired by The Doors’ charismatic lead singer Jim Morrison to answer fan mail and put together a scrapbook about the rock band. Once accepted into the inner circle, Sugarman joined his idols in experiencing the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of the 1960s.
When Morrison died in 1971, Sugerman served as the manager for Doors’ guitarist Robby Krieger, keyboardist Ray Manzarek and drummer John Densmore. He co-wrote the band’s biography, “No One Here Gets Out Alive,” with music journalist Jerry Hopkins, and worked as a technical advisor on the 1991 Oliver Stone film, “The Doors,” starring Val Kilmer.
The Los Angeles native later recounted his struggles with heroin addiction in the 1991 autobiography “Wonderland Avenue: Tales of Glamour and Excess.” He also wrote two Doors-related compilations and a book about the heavy metal band Guns N’ Roses.
Known for recording the songs “Light My Fire” and “Riders on the Storm,” The Doors regrouped in 2002. Featuring Manzarek, Krieger and former The Cult singer Ian Astbury, the band is now called The Doors of the 21st Century.
Sugerman died on Jan. 5 of lung cancer at the age of 50. He is survived by his wife, Fawn Hall Sugerman, who testified against her former boss Oliver North during the Iran-Contra scandal.
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41 Responses to Danny Sugerman

  1. Haydon Cooper

    I have read Wonderland Avenue so many times and i really felt like i know Danny and what he was feeling and thinking.I know i didnt know him but he is one hell of guy as when it comes to music alot of us felt and feel the same way about whatever band we love just like Danny did so we can identify with what he wrote.Just as much as we can identify with all the other thing he went through in his personal life.
    He made me cry he made me laugh and feel every emotion when i read his book. It has been a year maybe since i last read it but i will read it again.
    I have only just read about Danny’s passing today and it shocked me but i beleive he is up there watching and his spirit will always live on.
    Thank you Danny May you rest in peace and always be smiling.
    Shalom!
    Haydon.x

  2. jackie

    I have read both noone gets out of here alive and wonderland ave. Both books were outstanding. After reading winderland ave. I felt as though i knew danny and i realated with him on many topics. I only found out about his death tonight watching the grammy awards. I feel horrible and i really do feel as thougb i have lost someone as well.. RIP love always jackie

  3. CactusPete

    Like so many I heard the sad news during the Grammys on Sunday. I had the pleasure of talking with Danny several times and like him wrestled a few Demons of my own. Those Damn cigarettes got another good one! God if you still smoke please use this as a Great reason to quit. Danny, know that we love you and say Hi to Jimbo for us. Peace & the Love of Buddah, CactusPete

  4. Rob

    Since Danny’s passing I’ve read endless comments and commentary about him from people whom actually knew him and those who felt that they knew him through the media. Danny was a brilliant thinker, a wonderful author, a smart businessman, and a big personality. He was also mean spirited, selfish, small minded and often misguided. Danny’s substance abuse made him a cultural icon and it put him in the ground. While your well wishes are appreciated, you should remember that the person that you read about isn’t the real person. We’re all so much more complicated than that which can be briefed in a newspaper article . Hold Danny up as an inspiration, don’t turn him into a myth. He was, after all, just a regular guy.

  5. Drew

    In late December, I gave a copy of Wonderland Ave to my best friend who was going to jail for a month. A few weeks later I got the terrible news that Mr. Sugarman died. When my friend got back from the can, I told him about what happened, which made him quiet for a few minutes. He then told me about how he shared certain parts of the book with the guys he met and how they all understood exactly what it was about. The book has a bunch of scars on it and it still has the inscription I wrote, “the road of excess…”-William Blake. The book brought my friend Steve a lot of happiness, and it did the same for me a few years ago when I read it for the first time and has ever since. No One Here… is in the same boat. Sugarman is just as cool as Jim and Iggy, and he will be recongnized that way in the future. Thanks for the fun, and say hi to Jim and HST for me.

  6. Reece

    Ten minutes ago I finished reading LA wonderland after a friend passed it on to me. I was touched in ways I could never have imagined by Danny’s story and was looking up his details so I could find out more about him only to find this horrific news. After spending the last two weeks with Mr. Sugerman I too feel like I have lost a close friend. Thankyou for passing on your message Danny. Rest in Peace.

  7. Madison

    I have always had a closeness & love for “The Doors”. They are one of my all-time favorite bands! I am appreciative of Danny Sugerman to have been involved with being a witness and a testifier of all the crazy, funny, amazing, memorable, and even sad moments they all shared as individuals and as a whole. I was born too late (1976) to enjoy being there when The Doors performed, but I have watched concert DVD’s and a VHS of them performing at the Rose Bowl. I have read nearly every biography from Danny’s book “No One Gets Out Here Alive” to autobiographies of Ray Manzarek and John Densmore. It was fortunate that Danny was there, because when I read his book it felt like I was there. God Bless you, Danny. Thank you for the gifts that you brought to us. Tell Jim that “We still love him down here and that his lyrics supersedes time. ” This blunt if for the both of you! PEACE, LOVE, AND HAPPINESS! The 60s- The Doors- Will Live On Forever!!!

  8. Jay Brandner

    A close friend gave me Wonderland Avenue for my 20th birthday and it changed my life. After going through rehab at 18 then realising the people being hurt. That one book changed everything. I give that book as a gift to everyone I know. I even carried a copy for 12 months while I went through Europe. He was and a fan before anything and thats what counts.

  9. Max

    I am truly shocked. Up until this moment in time (14/04/2005) I had absolutely no idea that Danny Sugerman had passed away. Today I had read a very erudite article by Danny at
    http://www.thedoors.com/band/jim/?fa=mythos
    which was written in 1995 and was looking on the net for his contact details as I really wanted to e mail him about the article and about Jim and The Doors and converse with him. I have always loved The Doors music and read (twice!) Danny’s excellent book, No One Here Gets Out Alive.
    In fact, over the last few years I have neglected my love of music due to work pressures. It was reading that article of Danny’s that reminded me of my love of The Doors. Today I’ve been listening to their albums again and, as usual with Jim Morrisons lyrics, always find something new with his word play every time I revisit those truly unique works of art.
    To Danny Sugerman: IMHO you belong in the Pantheon of the Greats along with Jim for standing up for what you truly believed in, and then actually living it. You will be sorely missed.

  10. Meghan

    Wonderland Avenue has changed my outlook on books. I had only read one full novel before reading this book. It has only been a year since i read it the first time and I’m going on time number two of reading it. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone! Rest In Peace Sugerman

  11. Esco

    Holy Shit. I can’t believe I’m just finding this out. As mentioned by so many others on this tribute, Wonderland Ave. really, in my opinion, stands out as a great peice of work. I was introduced to Danny, like so many of us, when No One Here Gets Out Alive was first released and his name was on the cover as Bold as Life. And yes, he had Jerry Hopkins formidable skill to prop him up, nonetheless, Danny’s voice is heard quite clearly through the narrative.
    But Wonderland Ave. was where he really laid it out and proved he had the goods and God knows had paid his dues.
    I think of it as The Catcher In The Rye of it’s generation, certainly of it’s Genre.
    God Bless you Danny and all your loved ones.
    Esco

  12. Colleen

    I read Wonderland Ave in the early 90’s because I saw a blurb about it in a popular magazine at the time. I thought I’d give it a shot. It totally changed my life. I wrote down all the memorable quotes from the book as they related to my life and it opened me up to so many things like the readings of famous poets and I felt I could really connect with someone else’s beliefs. I started listening to the words of songs more and trying to understand their meanings and how they related to me.
    Danny was a very special person for being able to convey these thoughts to a 17-year old girl (at the time). I still have my book full of quotes that I kept throughout the years. I saw it on the grammies that he passed away and couldn’t believe it. In my mind he will live forever. Thanks Danny!!!
    Colleen

  13. Nobody

    I just read Wonderland Avenue and thought it was great. I thought I’d look the author up to see what he’s doing now or what he did since so I was upset to read he’d died in most of the top 50 of search results on the net. What a shame.

  14. Jessica

    I first read Wonderland Avenue at the age of 17, back in 1994, and have gone on to read it several more times. This book truly blew my young, impressionable mind! What an amazing storyteller! If ever a book should have been (and still could be) made into a movie Wonderland Avenue is it!
    I hope you are in a peaceful, beautiful place Danny. You are in my heart and in my prayers.

  15. Joanna

    I just found out that Danny has died,I’m deeply saddened by this,what a great & outstanding person. I have read Wonderland Avenue many times & at times i have felt like i was there driving through Laurel Cannon with him.He really did follow his dreams. Love you Danny xxxxxxxxxx

  16. Sam

    I love his book “wonderland avenue” ! I read it first in 1994, I was 14 by that time. It changed my life, my friend and I always played that we live there (wonderland avenue) and tried to act like the people in the book. Oh my god..it was such a cool time… Because of the book I did some experiencing myself, of course…a little rebellion and things… But I always felt of Danny as if he was my friend back then, a cool person that lived somewhere over there in California. Simply Danny. I’ve read the book a thousand times since then. And I always was happy that people like him existed. Well, it is weird to read now, because he writes a lot about cigarettes and that he wants to die with 21 and not old from cancer and stuff (in the book)..but I think he’s with Jim now, and Buddha, and he always knew that he would not become very old…I will miss him.

  17. Sabine

    Hey,
    I still cannot get over it, I miss him so much!!!He was a very good friend to me, something like an older brother. He helped me alot when I was on heroin. He was so kind, spirituell, neat, friendley, I cant think of any words to describe him. Well, here is my site, a memorial site for danny
    wwww.beepworld.de/members88/william-blake99
    Thank you Danny, I promise some day I made it;-)

  18. Annette

    I, like many of you, was so touched by the book Wonderland Avenue that it is the only book I have re-read a number of times. I just loved the story, this charming young man who could find a way to be with his real life hero. How many people are able to do that? His early years sounded like he must have been the most wonderful child to know, the Jim Years and the tragic later years with so mich loss, confussion and saddness. I am so thankful that he was able to carry on and find true love and happiness. I was at a loss to look up his name, looking for up-tp-date information on him, to discover he passed in January. What a great artist. I am sure he will be missed dearly. I am only sorry he never wrote the second part to that book, the part where we see his life evolve into the loving life he had. Your words will always be with us, so we can laugh, cry and remember. Annette

  19. Andrea

    After reading “Wonderland Avenue”, I was inspired to find out more about the author, and how his life progressed and unfolded. Instead I was saddened to find out of his passing. He was a true music fan and lived what could have only been a most amazing life

  20. Ed Wood

    No Here Gets Out Alive had a tremendous effect on my teenaged mind. The Doors, esp. Jim Morrison became sort of a role model due to my own inability to conform and my utter dismay over the “values” emphasized in the Reagan 80s. So when I read Danny Sugerman’s bio I was green with envy. What an amazing life and harrowing journey through the decadence & debauchery of the 70s. Of course all he was able to achieve was nearly destroyed by the addictions that fueled his lifestyle. I admire anyone who can live that hard and survive. Especially to be able to find redemption in recovery. If the purpose of life is truly to live according to your principles, follow your dream and learn finally that giving of oneself is the ultimate freedom, Danny’s life was a success. jah bless

  21. j.o.s.

    “no-ONE…….gets out”………was a sharp,detailed Doors book.However,”wonderland” is a wondering,un-focused mess.
    Why doesn’t anyone admit that writing under the influence may make the “facts” questionable??
    His death @ 50 should be of no surprise.
    His entire life is a blue-print for anti-drug groups & should be used for that purpose.
    His stance on ‘legalization” is miss-directed & frankly,very dis-honest.
    There is a part of this whole sorrid affair,that makes one want to stay straight forever.
    RIP
    a very “unglamourous”,filthy life.
    Granted,his home life was void of love………but he was exposed to the L.A. life,as it was,@ the most selfish time in it’s history.
    But,when he had a chance to live clean,he couldn’t.

  22. Kate

    Wonderland Avenue is a truly amazing book. I have read it a number of times. I was shocked and saddend to hear Danny had passed away. Such a great talent. RIP Danny xxx

  23. ROD

    I read “Wonderland Avenue” & “No one here get’s out Alive” in the early 90’s at a very dark time in my life, Danny’s struggles i could relate to completely, thank you for these novels, over there years ive re-read them both several time’s & get something new out of them each time. I was saddened to learn of Danny’s death. RIP Danny…. and thank you.

  24. Louiza

    again as everyone else has said, I read this book about ten years ago, and changed my life, i have read it over 6 times now. Danny you will be missed, may you be happy amongst the angels, see you someday!

  25. soooz

    I read Wonderland Avenue when I was 19, back in the mid 90’s and out of all the books I’ve devoured over the years, that one made such an impression on my young mind, convinced me that altho he had a charmed life when it came to the friends he made, he nearly blew it all on smack. I dabbled in drugs but that book convinced me not to take i t further and I thank Danny for that, as well as being able to write such a damn good book!
    Its just such a shame that he never got to write more. He had such a way with words that kept me compelled to the very end. I especially enjoyed all the naughty things he got up to in school, especially blowing up the whole plumbing system!
    RIP Danny.

  26. David Freeland

    Danny and I were best friends growing up. We would thumb up to the DOORS office at 8512 s.m. blvd. We did the scrapbook and I knew Bill S. wife Cher who was an airline steward. Danny and I would put up flyers for concerts all over L.A. We would go up to the Whisky’a gogo on sunset and had great times together. I moved to K.C. and we stayed in touch about once or twice a year. Danny was a good guy he will be missed. David

  27. tiray

    Whoa!
    I can’t believe that i just heard about this!I moved u into that crib Danny! Even in your sickness, you got up outta your bed, walked over and showed me your books ( about the doors) in your garage! Fawn didn’t like me much, but i guess i have that impression on people..( sorry fawn) Yeah Fawn, I’m the brutha FROM (…….)MOVING that made the corny jokes…SORRY!
    rest in peace danny…..U were an asset to everyone trying to live a fruitful happy life!
    peace bro!
    tiray

  28. sandy

    I just now found out mr sugerman passed away and im very saddened his book wonderland avenue is an inspiration to me Ive read it so many times and to the friends i have lent the book to .and after reading the book when i wrote to him,and expecting no reply i received a short hand written note from him expressing thanks for writing and some advice for getting into the music biz i will cherish it forever RIP mr sugerman youre missed

  29. Kyle Ryan

    Just finished Wonderland Avenue, I feel in the past few years (im21) I have been in love with the Doors and felt no one anywhere felt what I did, until I read this book. I do alot of drugs, often find myself to be crazy-dioynsian like Morrison(acting or not), One thing is for sure” all roads of excess leads to the palace of wisdom” heroin however leads to the palace of Satan. Finished it on William Blake’s birthday too, Ironic maybe, but probably not
    REST IN PEACE……
    and some one tell Iggy to join the doors of the 21st already

  30. shot gun betty

    Just finished Wonderland Avenue whilst coming off the monkey juice. Have read just about every book on the subject but none have evoked such emotion and i immediately googled him , confirming what i felt in my heart- . was surprised to find out he died of cancer and not O.D as i expected-yes i am a bit behind the times but that is what happens after 15 years in the land of nod. As Danny’s friend Jim Carrol quotes in an ode to Kurt Cobaine-“the monkey will negotiate”- not as easy as it sounds. Was however pleased to hear Danny continued to not only follow his dreams but was involved in drug education & harm reduction- “If only it were as easy to banish hunger by rubbing the belly as it is to masturbate”-Diogenes the Cynic, 4th century BC.
    R.I.P and thankyou.

  31. Laura

    Just watched The Doors movie the other night and thought about Danny Sugarman, came upon this blog. I read Wonderland Avenue in 1991. What a great writing style. I usually donate books I’m done with, but not this book. It’s one of my absolute favorites. I have the copy I bought back in ’91 still on my bookshelf, and often browse it. I’ve been a gigantic Doors fan for at least 26 years. My best friend and I were Doors freaks. I could so identify with Danny as a Doors fan, and even more so a fan of music where it is so vital to your existence, like breathing. Still a big part of my life till this day. RIP cool dude…

  32. Carol Marshall

    I’m almost 52 and have loved The Doors for decades, have read so much of Danny’s information on his life with them…he made me feel like I knew them personally, so thank you Danny for doing what we all dreamed of doing in getting to know the band and Jim so personally. The band still rocks and I was on the front row of two of the concerts of The Doors 21st Century with Ian Asbury here in Houston. Without you, those concerts would not have happened, so I’m thanking you from Houston for the experience of a Lifetime. They were taping the show, so they let us on the 1st row get on stage with the band while they played there last long song. What a thrill. I was standing up against Ray’s keyboards…that’s how close, and even got to be in the video tape. I had just read Ray’s book about Jim too. Without Danny Sugerman, those concerts may not have happened. Thanks forever Danny. Say hi to Jim for me, and I miss you both.
    Carol

  33. David Freeland

    Danny and I would thumb up to The Doors office after school and do the scrapbook. We went to Westchester High school together and grad in 72.
    We were the best of friends I will miss Danny.
    David

  34. Chris Rx-5

    This was the best book i ever read.
    As soon as i finished it ,i started it again.
    A massive loss to all.
    RIP Danny.
    I just wish i had a chance to meet you.

  35. Janna

    I am only half way through Wonderland Ave. I logged on my computer to try and find out more about Danny Sugarman only to find that he passed in 2005. At least I get to see a photo of what he looks like to finish reading the wonderful Wonderland. I am a fan of the genre and have not been able to put this one down. I’ve read other books about the canyon and the Rockstars and the groupies, I would love to see his book as a movie. A movie of Danny’s life. Thanks RIP

  36. lloyd

    wow’ it mite sound mad but when i was 20 yrs old i thought i was the only person in the world that felt so strong about the doors music, i loved jim and the redanny and the doors,thank you jim/rob/ray/john and danny you have made my life better than it ever could of been without you all, thank you all.st of the band plus danny as he was part of the band, the books the music the whole story is a world which once you find and under stand becomes part of what you are. i feel very lucky to be apart of all that and know my life would not be the same without

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