Joan Vollmer
Joan Vollmer

Celebrity Profile

Name: Joan Vollmer
Occupation: Celebrity Family Member
Gender: Female
Birth Day: February 4, 1923
Death Date: Sep 6, 1951 (age 28)
Age: Aged 28
Country: United States
Zodiac Sign: Aquarius

Social Accounts

Height: in centimeters - N/A
Weight: in kg - N/A
Eye Color: N/A
Hair Color: N/A
Blood Type N/A
Tattoo(s) N/A

Joan Vollmer

Joan Vollmer was born on February 4, 1923 in United States (28 years old). Joan Vollmer is a Celebrity Family Member, zodiac sign: Aquarius. Find out Joan Vollmernet worth 2020, salary 2020 detail bellow.


She hosted and took part in marathon, late-night discussions with famous Beat Generation figures such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.

Does Joan Vollmer Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Joan Vollmer died on Sep 6, 1951 (age 28).

Net Worth

Net Worth 2020


Salary 2020

Not known

Before Fame

She met Edie Parker while both were attending Barnard College. She was invited by Parker to live in her New York apartment. They often provided lodging for writers, hustlers, and drug addicts, many of whom would become prominent Beats in just a few years.

Biography Timeline


Vollmer married Paul Adams, a law student, in 1944, and had her first child, Julie, in August 1944. In 1945, Vollmer asked Adams, who was in the military at the time, to consent to divorce. Paul Adams divorced Vollmer upon returning from military service, reportedly appalled by her drug use and group of friends. In 1945 Jack Kerouac introduced her to Benzedrine, which she used heavily for a few years. Early in 1946, she began a long-term relationship with Burroughs. The match was initially set up and encouraged by Allen Ginsberg, who much admired Burroughs’ intellect and considered Joan his female counterpart.


In 1946, Vollmer had been admitted to Bellevue Hospital in New York City due to psychotic episodes as a result of excessive amphetamine use. At this time Burroughs had been convicted of prescription forgery and was sentenced to return to his parents' care in St. Louis, Missouri. Immediately after completing his probationary order, he traveled to New York to retrieve Vollmer from Bellevue. From that moment until her death, she called herself Mrs. William Burroughs. Although the two were never formally married, they had a son, William Burroughs, Jr. Due to trouble with the law for drug abuse, drug distribution and lewd behavior charges, they relocated several times, moving first to New Waverly, Texas, then to New Orleans, and eventually to Mexico City. While living in New Orleans, Burroughs was arrested for heroin possession, during which time police searched Vollmer's home, unearthing letters from Ginsberg discussing a possible shipment of marijuana. The resulting criminal charges were grave — upon conviction Burroughs would have served two to five years in Louisiana's infamous Angola State Prison; he fled for Mexico City. Once he was settled, Vollmer joined him, along with her children.


Several years later, when Vollmer and Burroughs were living together in Texas, Ginsberg encouraged Burroughs to break up with Vollmer, believing that Burroughs could never return her total devotion. Nevertheless, Burroughs ignored this advice and evidence suggests he and Vollmer had a passionate affair. Once they were arrested for having sex in a parked vehicle. Vollmer became a mother for the second time after William, Jr. was born in 1947.


In a 1980s interview with Ted Morgan, Burroughs described a domestic violence incident which occurred shortly after his arrival in Mexico in January 1950, stating he "slapped" Joan after she threw his heroin in the toilet and recalled how he immediately went out to buy more, stating "What could she do? [Go back to Upstate] New York?" The same scene was recounted in Burroughs' semi-autobiographical Junkie: "When my wife saw I was getting the habit again, she did something she had never done... My wife grabbed the spoon and threw the junk on the floor. I slapped her twice across the face and she threw herself on the bed, sobbing."

Herbert Huncke, who had stayed with the couple in Texas, was struck by Burroughs' indifference to Joan, stating that Burroughs "didn't like to be annoyed with her too much." In August 1950, a petition for divorce was initiated in Mexico by Burroughs, Vollmer, or both. Although their marriage was a common-law marriage, in Mexico it was considered legal. However, the application was later withdrawn by their Mexican attorney. The divorce was likely required due to Burroughs' stated desire to take custody of their son upon dissolution. From the same source, there is some speculation that Vollmer was romantically linked with several men while living in Mexico.


In her son’s novel Kentucky Ham (1973), Vollmer is remembered as a gentle and considerate mother who was meek and deferential to her husband's parents. Yet she is also depicted as being prone to wild bouts of self-destructive behavior. The book recounts a reckless, almost deadly drive down a mountainside road in Mexico. Joan's battered appearance and unpredictable behavior alarmed Ginsberg when he visited with Lucien Carr in 1951. During their visit she expressed some bitterness and hostility toward Burroughs' lack of affection and continued drug addiction. In fact, at the time of Ginsberg's visit, Burroughs was away in Guatemala with a young man he pursued unsuccessfully.

On September 6th, 1951, Burroughs shot Vollmer in the head, allegedly while trying to shoot a glass he had asked her to balance on her head during a drunken William Tell act. Vollmer died several hours after being shot in the head, at the age of 28. Burroughs said he had eight to ten drinks and couldn't remember much of that night, while witnesses Woods and Marker claimed they had two small glasses. The couple's four-year-old son, William Burroughs Jr. was in the room when the accident occurred. Burroughs gave different accounts of the shooting, denying his original William Tell story after intervention by his prominent Mexican attorney, Bernabé Jurado.

Friends of the couple were divided in opinion on the case. Ginsberg and Carr defended Burroughs and believed that Vollmer may have encouraged the William Tell incident, stating she had seemed suicidal when they visited her in 1951. Haldon Chase, who had also visited Burroughs and Vollmer in 1951 in Mexico City, distanced himself from Burroughs after Vollmer's death. Chase believed that Vollmer "had wanted to die," but that Burroughs story was "a sham, a put-up thing to release Bill, to let him commit the ultimate crime." In interviews with Ted Morgan from 1983-1986, Burroughs said "Allen was always making it out as a suicide on her part, and I do not accept that cop-out." By the 1980s, Burroughs had publicly returned to the William Tell story to explain the killing of Joan.

The film Beat (2000) is a biographical account of the relationship between Joan Vollmer Burroughs and William S. Burroughs. Joan Vollmer Burroughs is portrayed by Courtney Love and William S. Burroughs by Kiefer Sutherland. There are brief appearances by Daniel Martinez as Jack Kerouac, Ron Livingston as Allen Ginsberg and Norman Reedus as Lucien Carr. The film centres on the killing of Joan Vollmer Burroughs, on 6 September 1951, by her husband, William S. Burroughs. It also portrays Lucien Carr's plea of guilty to the first-degree manslaughter, on 13 August 1944, of David Kammerer, played by Kyle Secor, for which he served two years of a one-to-twenty-year sentence in the Elmira Correctional Facility in Upstate New York.


In a 1954 letter to Ginsberg, Burroughs wrote about his fears that he had subconsciously wanted to kill Joan: "May yet attempt a story or some account of Joan's death. I think I am afraid. Not exactly to discover unconscious intent, it's more complex, more basic, and more horrible, as if the brain drew the bullet toward it."


In December 2017, it came to light that Lewis Marker and Eddie Woods (not the poet Eddie Woods, who was also friends with Burroughs) were present at the shooting. Burroughs' brother Mortimer arrived from St. Louis to help his brother, providing thousands of dollars for legal costs to Jurado, who used part of the money to bribe the judge, ballistics experts, and others involved in the case. Burroughs was held on murder charges for thirteen days before being released on bail.

Family Life

Joan had a passionate love affair with William S. Burroughs that ended in tragedy when Burroughs shot her to death during a drunken game of William Tell. Joan's death had a profound effect upon William's writing career. Joan had two children, her daughter Julie Adams with first husband Paul Adams and her son William S. Burroughs Jr. with Burroughs.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Joan Vollmer is 99 years, 3 months and 19 days old. Joan Vollmer will celebrate 100th birthday on a Saturday 4th of February 2023. Below we countdown to Joan Vollmer upcoming birthday.


Joan Vollmer trends


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