Television viewers might know Charlotte Stewart best as the wholesome schoolteacher Eva Beadle on the hit show Little House on the Prairie. However, did you know she was also a '60s wild child who became drinking buddies with Doors front man Jim Morrison?
Charlotte, who recently recounted her relationship with Jim and many other things in her new book Little House in the Hollywood Hills, says she may have been one of the final people to spend personal time with the '60s icon before he died in Paris, France at the tender age of 27.
Charlotte tells Oprah: Where Are They Now? that when her friendship with Jim began, she wasn't even a Doors fan. "The first thing I’ll tell you about Jim is I never saw the Doors perform, ever," Charlotte says. "How I missed it I don’t know because I was smack in the middle of rock and roll and all of that, but he became a friend in the early 70s."
It all started at her offbeat clothing shop, where she'd patch jeans for various hippies and rock-and-rollers. "I had a clothing store called The Liquid Butterfly, and one day I came in and there was Jim Morrison," Charlotte says. "He was just standing in the store looking out the window. We were right across the street from Elektra Records, so there was a lot going on."
His personality, Charlotte says, was not as outgoing as his stage presence suggests. "He was very—he was a loner, you know? He didn’t do a lot of publicity or stunts of any kind. He was a pretty quiet guy, and so we became friends over several weeks, in fact we became drinking buddies."
Charlotte says she and Jim would often go down the street to just sit at a bar and talk. Occasionally, they would go back to one another's place for hanky-panky. "I wasn’t looking for romance, I wasn’t looking for a partner, I was just kind of a buddy he could talk to—well, I call it a buddy with benefits, if you know what I mean," Charlotte says.
"One day he asked if I would like to go on a trip because he was facing some pretty serious charges in Florida," Charlotte continues. "He had been arrested there for indecent exposure, and there was a lot of paparazzi around. There was a lot of just hassle in his life and he just wanted to get away so we did."
So, they did what countless others have down when they're trying to escape: They hopped in a car and drove up the coast of California, stopping at bars and pool halls along the way. "There wasn’t a lot of talking," Charlotte says. "It was mainly driving, looking out the window at the Pacific Ocean. We went up to Cambria, which is where the Hearst Castle is, took the bus up to the Hearst Castle and no one recognized him at all."
As we know, Jim's story didn't end in California. Charlotte bid goodbye to her friend before he flew to Europe. "Then, he dropped me off—we were gone for four days—and he dropped me off, and I never saw him again. He left soon afterwards for Paris and, as you know, he died there."