And just in time to share a Tommy Morrison tale or two while I dig myself out from a short vacation and prepare to unleash shocking new revelations about former Kansas City boxer Tommy Morrsion.
Morrison was practically a franchise in my column at the Star for 16 years. From the earliest revelations about his unbridled passion for Elvis and exotic, wild animals – while he pissed off a reported $12 million in career earnings – to his current brush with death as a penniless shadow of the fair-haired boy we once knew.
But return with me now, to those heady days when Tommy seemingly could do no wrong even while actually doing just about everything wrong.
Like the time he bedded & married a pair of comely blondes named Dawn.
Think of it as a double marriage.
Dateline 1996 – just prior to Morrison’s infamous career-ending HIV diagnosis.
“On the morning of Morrison’s HIV press conference in Tulsa, Dawn Two left a love note on Morrison’s bed that Dawn One found first,” ESPN reported on the two Dawns in 2003. “Now at her wit’s end, D1 invited D2 over to Morrison’s apartment, and D2 showed up and spilled everything. ‘I wanted to pick up the coffee table and smash her with it, ‘ D1 says. Morrison arrived later and calmed both women down, but he knew he would have to pick one.
“In some ways, the HIV revelation had forced his hand. He wanted a legal partner now, and he chose D1 on a whim. He even got a tattoo of D1’s face on his upper back, with the caption, ‘Dawn You Sexy Bitch Morrison.’ They were married in Tijuana on May 18, 1996. When D2 found out, she says she had ‘a nervous breakdown’ that sent her to the hospital for three days. So a guilty Morrison started seeing D2 again, and they got married in Tijuana Sept. 17, 1996.”
Here’s how Morrison’s Dawn One / Dawn Two bust unfolded:
“Eventually D1 caught on, ” ESPN wrote. “One day D2 called the house and the name ‘Dawn Morrison’ showed up on caller ID. Another time, when D1 stopped at a Tulsa Quik Stop, the attendant said, ‘That’s funny. Another Dawn Morrison was in here the other day. Looked just like you.’ ”
Dawn One bailed on Morrison two years later when he checked into the slammer on drug and firearms charges. But Dawn Two was still there for him when he got out 14 months later.
“On the day he was released from (prison in) Little Rock, D2 picked him up wearing high heels, a black leather coat and nothing underneath, ” ESPN wrote. “On the way home they made one stop. To have devil horns added to his D1 tattoo.”
The couple was “expecting and hoping” for a call from actor Sylvester Stallone about a role in the upcoming movie “Rocky VI,” ESPN added.
Dawn Two remarried Morrison in 2001 before finally throwing in the towel in 2007 and moving on with her life and their young son, Tristin Duke Morrison, now 9.
Prior to that, everything had been more-or-less rosy in the Bible Belt for about two years, Dawn Two told me in 2006, as their relationship unraveled.
“Then he started hanging out with the town trash,” she said. “And people really rallied around me here – they stepped up and helped me with the boys.”
If she had it all to do again, I asked?
“Um, some people have asked me that, ” Dawn mused. “And out of anger, I feel like I’ve wasted 12 years on this man. But if I had it to do over, I would do it again – and I’d change a few things. I’d do it all over again if I knew I was going to get those three years of him being the best Tommy he could be, and he was. Those three years made the other nine years worth it. Because he was a wonderful, hands-on father. Every pregnant woman should have him for (her baby’s) father – he just babied me. He was wonderful in the delivery room.”
Dawn was even charitable in characterizing their nasty split.
“He says it’s my fault for filing for divorce, ” she told me. “But when he stays with another woman for 28 days straight …”
Comments section devotees may note that Dawn did not return my calls this past week, opting instead to stick up for Tommy and admonish the comments crowd.
“Y’all should be ashamed of yourselves,” she wrote. “Show some respect for a dying man. Even if you don’t like Tom, try thinking about his kids who are dealing with losing their Dad at any moment. Don’t you think that there is a chance they may be reading this and here y’all are talking about their Dad’s corpse? It’s disgusting…
“To be honest, I’m his ex-wife and there is no love lost between me and Tom. But still yet, I have a 14 yr old and a 9 yr old that love their Dad, no matter what mistakes he made. His 2 adult sons love him and are having a really hard time dealing with this. He’s still just ‘Dad.’ Be a smart mouth if it makes you feel better. Maybe one day, if you have kids, you’ll have to look into your kids’ eyes and tell them their Mom is dying. Even with your flippant, mocking, disrespectful attitude, I hope you never have to give your kids that news and watch them cry. It will rip your heart out. I wouldn’t wish that on you or anyone else.”