Wikipedia has an excellent Alice Cooper page.
Alice Cooper was born Vincent Damon Furnier (named after "Uncle Vince and Damon Runyon") on 4th February 1948 at Saratoga hospital in Detroit, Michigan, USA.
His father, Ether Moromi (Michael) Furnier (b. 26th March 1924 in Pennsylvania) was a Minister although he'd previously had various jobs including working as a draftsman and a car salesman. He had three older brothers, Lonson Thurman Furnier, Vincent (Uncle Vince) Collier Furnier and Clarence R. Furnier. He died on December 13th 1987.
His mother, Ella Mae McCart (b. 16th Sept 1925), still lives with Alice in Arizona and yes, it WAS her in the Fisher commercial in the 90s.
Around 1960, Alice`s father rediscovered his faith. From 'Me Alice`:
"The Church was suddenly everything to us, a religion, a social life, a new family. My Father`s devotion was inspiring. It affected my Mother so deeply that within a month she stood up in church one day and asked to be baptised. My Father did the same thing a few weeks layer, and after that our lives changed completely. A real conversion took place in all of us, my father the most dramatically. He stopped everything bad he was doing - cold turkey. He stopped it all, from booze to tobacco. He was incredibly strong and determined, and the entire family had renewed respect for him.
I was submerged even deeper into religion during the preparation for my father`s ordination. When other kids stayed home because the lessons were too deep, too obscure for a child to understand, my father would bring me. I went to doctrine meetings with him and other men who aspired to be ministers. I watched my dad transform himself, through God and the church, into a totally happy, self-sufficient human being. He was ordained in April 1961 when he was thirty-four years old and I was thirteen."
Alice's relationship with his dad after the book ('Me, Alice' with the introduction by his father) was "great. They really got along like best friends"(Brian Nelson)
Alice has one older sister, Nicola (b. 1946) who lives in California and was married to Frank Crandall, who co-wrote "Dance Yourself To Death" until he passed away in December 2011. Nicola is virtually never seen in photos with Alice and rarely mentioned by him either. Nothing should be read into this and there has never been any suggestion of problems between the siblings. The one big exception was at the Hollywood Walk Of Fame presentation where she joined in the family photos around the 'Star'.
[You can find more details on the early timeline page.]
Alice's family moved around a great deal during his early years:
Before he was a year old, the Furniers' had moved to Los Angeles and back to Detroit. At about age three (for Alice), they moved to Phoenix for a year or two. Then back to Detroit for three winters. At eight, back to L.A. and living in his Uncle Lonson's living room. Ether Furnier scores a job at the Jet Propulsion Lab. In May 1961, the family heads to Phoenix after the senior Furnier is ordained. Alice notes that he was thirteen and his father was 38 when his father was ordained, about a month prior to moving to Phoenix.
Alice did have a place at Lakeshore Towers around 1984 for awhile so there were lots of sightings. He headed back to Phoenix. Once he had a taste of the Chicago winter.
(Brian Nelson, June 1995)
From 'Me, Alice':
On the Fourth of July (1961?), only two months after we had moved to Phoenix, there was a huge celebration at a church member's home, and when I got home to my pillow, instead of fucking it, I threw up two quarts of lasagna on it. My mother chalked it up to spicy cooking. Later on in the night my stomach hurt unbearably, and possessed with the fear that I would be carried to the doctor's office for an injection, I kept my mouth shut and suffered through the pain.
Two days later I was throwing up every hour, which I hid from my mother be sneaking into the bathroom in the back of the trailer and turning the water on full force to cover up the sounds of my retching. Eventually she got suspicious about the toilet flushing so much and I began to crawl outside the trailer where they couldn't hear me. Eventually I was in so much pain that I couldn't even stand to get outside. My mother found me in a pool of vomit on my bedroom floor and in a belated state of panic they rushed me to a hospital.
There had been a dead cow on the Indian reservation we had visited that Independence Day, and I had poked around the carcass with a stick, although everyone warned me to stay away from it. The doctors at the hospital were convinced that I had picked up typhoid from the cow, and they put me in the infectious isolation ward. Another two days went by as my white blood count soared, and for a week I had lost weight like sugar in a rainstorm. Almost ten days after I got sick they decided to slice me open and check inside.
I was full of peritonitis. My insides were literally riddled with it. I was rotting away. They tried to move my intestines aside to find my appendix, but my guts were too infected and not solid enough to touch. My appendix had burst a good week before, but it was too late to do anything about it now. They sewed me up again, stuck draining tubes in me, and told my parents I would die.
My father couldn't believe it. Why had God let him go to Phoenix to work with the Indians, step out on faith with no money, no job, and now take his son away from him? He thought it must be a trial, like Abraham.
The doctors pumped me full of morphine and even though I was in a deep dream world, constantly hallucinating, my parents sat by my bedside and read the Bible and comic books to me: "The sickness is not unto death but unto the glory of God." I looked like I was ready for Hitler's ovens. I dropped almost half my weight, weight that I was never to recover. I reached a low sixty-eight pounds. I didn't even want to jerk off with my pillow.
A call went out to church members around the country for help. In Los Angeles the church people who ordained my dad prayed and fasted for me. Letters and cards arrived to the hospital by the dozens while my parents waited for the end to come.
I can't offer any explanation as to why I lived except that it was a miracle. There is no doubt about it. It was a miracle that I pulled through - thanks to Jesus, and the church and the faith of everyone around me. Years later, whenever my father would tell this story to people they'd laugh.
"Why would the Lord save the life of Alice Cooper?"
Recovery meant a year in bed Watching TV!
"I was only ninety-eight pounds and had spent a year and a half hunched over in bed, which left a curvature of my spine and shoulders which could have put the hunchback of Notre Dame to shame." (Me Alice)
Alice went to Cortez High School (fall of 1962) in Arizona and studied Art. He had previously attended Squaw Peak Elementary and would go on to Glendale Community Collage as an Art major
"I painted dark pictures of unsmiling people, which was odd because outwardly I was a happy carefree person" (Me Alice).
He excelled at running in school and was a member of the track team. He was so good that he reputably broke the 26 mile marathon record for Phoenix. The story goes that on completion of the race, he promptly fell over and broke his nose, an injury that explains his distinctive face.
Alice never finished his degree.
"He left to go to Hollywood and became a big rock star." (Brian Nelson, March 1996)
Alice worked on the School newspaper, the Cortez Tip Sheet, for which he also wrote a column called "Get Out Of My Hair" under the name Muscles McNasel. The column featured a picture of 'Muscles' taken by the Tip Sheet Photographer, a certain Glen Buxton.
"Glen and I became friends basically because he was forbidden. Cortez was a school of goody-goody kids. There was no juvenile delinquency in our clean American Phoenix suburb and Glen was considered a tough kid. His swagger and unlit cigarette was as close as we got to what the principal, George Buckley, called "negative influences on the community." Buckley, who was a well-known community leader in Phoenix, a Mormon elder and member of the draft board, was obsessed with uncovering "negative influences on the community." My friendship with Glen soon tainted me. Glen was suspended from school a half a dozen times for long hair and smoking in the bathroom, and when Buckley saw me walking around the Cortez campus with him I was automatically put on his suspicious character list."
The Name (see also The Name)
Alice legally changed his name in 1974. His name IS Alice Cooper!
Vincent Furnier starts going by Alice Cooper on April 12th 1968.
I believe this is correct. This is how I came to that conclusion. If I remember right, in the book "Me, Alice", Alice started calling himself Alice right after the traffic accident he and the band were in. There is a scan of that police report showing that the accident occurred on April 12th '68.
(Kurt, 27th January 1998)
Alice has been married to Sheryl Cooper (nee Goddard 20th May 1956) since 20th March 1976 and they have three children, Calico (b. 19th May 1981 - Calico means `Many Colours`), Dashiell (b.June 28th 1985 - named after author Dashiel Hammett), and Sonora Rose (b.14th Dec 1992). All go by the name Cooper. Calico Cooper is of course now well known to Alice fans the world over having followed in her mothers footsteps by being part of all Alice tours since 'Brutal Planet' between 2000 and 2010 playing the female parts on stage including Nurse Rozetta, Britney Spears and the Whipgirl for 'Go To Hell' even being introduced on stage by Alice as 'My own little nightmare'. She has her sights set on a movie career. In 2008 Sheryl and Sonora also appeared in the show for the North American dates. Dashiel has a band in Phoenix called 'CO-OP' (previously 'Runaway Phoenix') and works for Precise Corporate Staging who provide audio and lighting for various events including Alice Cooper shows.
In November 2014 Dash and his wife Morgan provided Alice with his first granchildren named Falcon Jay and Riot Vincent Cooper.
Alice and Sheryl met while Sheryl was a dancer on the 'Welcome To My Nightmare' tour. She has appeared on stage with Alice many times, most often as 'Ethyl' for 'Only Women Bleed' or the nurse for 'Ballad of Dwight Fry'. She was also one of the many dancers in the 'Sgt. Pepper' movie and also makes a very brief appearance in 'Roadie'. In her youth she spent three years working at Disneyland. She is now the artistic director of the Solid Rock Teen Center.
Her father William Goddard was a pastor of First Baptist Church of Pasadena. Her mother Beverly Goodard was school teacher and homemaker. She has a sister, Shauna, who is also a profesional dancer.
Sheryl started dancing at age 6, with ballet lessons and as a teen she danced and portrayed characters at Disneyland. As of 2011 she had a weekly class at private studio in Scottsdale and two weekly classes at Camelback Bible Church in Paradise Valley. By 2013 it appears Sheryl has to a degree "retired" as she now accompanies Alice everywhere on tour, as well as performing at in the show, and so has little time for anything else although she is still heavily involved with SolidRock.
Time - 29th March 1976:
MARRIED: Alice Cooper, 28, decadent rock's man with a woman's name, and Sheryl Goddard, 19, singer and dancer who appeared in Cooper's "Welcome To My Nightmare" show; in a civil ceremony in Acapulco, Mexico, March 20. It was a "separate estates" marriage, which, in the event of divorce, bars each spouse from a share in the other's property.
Sheryl Cooper ran a dance studio in Phoenix which had a few biographic details:
Sheryl Cooper has been dancing most of her life. She has studied with some of the dance communitys most notable masters including Ruth Page, Robert Joffrey, Joe Tremaine, Glen Tetley and Michael Kidd. Sheryls ability and hard work led her to win scholarships from both Robert Joffrey and Rolland DuPree.
Her professional credits include The Pasadena Dance Theater, a high profile dance company in California and extensive work and study with Lou Conte of the Hubbard Street Dance Company in Chicago. Besides her work in traditional dance theatres, Sheryl has worked for some of the entertainment industrys biggest names. Her music video list includes Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, The Bee Gees and Peter Frampton. She also performed for The Rock Music Awards, MTV Awards and the American Music Awards. Sheryl has danced professionally with Goldie Hawn, Steve Martin, George C. Scott and the late great Jackie Gleason. Sheryl appeared as part of the original cast of Zoot Suit as well as the production of Movie Movie.
Mrs. Cooper is also an award-winning choreographer, having produced, directed and choreographed childrens theater in Phoenix for over 20 years.
In her spare time she acts as an executive board member of The Solid Rock Foundation a Christian non-profit organization dedicated to helping youth and teens and is the proud co-owner of the famous downtown eatery Cooperstown, known for its rockin ribs and the best bar-b-que on the planet!
Cindy was Alice`s girlfriend for many years, all through the beginnings of the band up to the 'Welcome To My Nightmare' tour.
Sometimes there's a little confusion about Alice's marital history. He had a long time girlfriend in the late '60s and early '70s named Cindy Lang - but they were never married. She did, however, sue him for palimony (not alimony) when they broke up in '75. (The case was settled out of court in the early '80s.) Cindy got quite a bit of media attention at the time of the suit ('60 Minutes', 'Phil Donahue', etc.).
(Brian Nelson, March 1996)
- I believe it was the first ever palimony case - it never went to court unlike the Lee Marvin case which in turn got all the attention. AC and Cindy settled out of court in 1982 for an undisclosed amount - although if you were the one who messengered the legal papers to the lawyer I guess you would know the amount. Hint, hint.
(Brian Nelson, July 1995)
(Brian Nelson, June 1995)
I heard at the time that she sued him because he broke up with her after repeatedly asking her to marry him and being turned down. I think Alice said that she didn't want to get married but that's not why they split up. The basis for the suit was supposedly that the breakup damaged her career as a model. I'm sure there was more to it than this.
Right. That was Cindy's contention. But she had tons of opportunities to get modeling jobs - she certainly had the connections with who she knew (she once was on the front cover of Andy Warhol's "Interview" magazine c.1974) - but she chose not to work.
(Brian Nelson, March 1996)
After the law suit was resolved Cindy went on to marry one of the lawyers that worked for her legal company. She died on January 3rd 2017.
Back in the late 90s there were many rumours that Alice has supposedly 'found religion' or is 'Born again'. This is a little misleading as Alice always believed in a god, he just didn't spend as much of his time in religious practices during the 70s and 80s.
These rumors have been flying around a lot especially with the release of 'The Last Temptation' - which certainly has some theological tones to it. But then again, this is nothing new. Many of Alice's lyrics have dealt with this going all the way back to "Fields of Regret" and "Second Coming." He feels it's an interesting subject to write about as he doesn't want to do songs that are just about making out in the back seat of a car or the like.
As a lot of people know, Alice's dad was a minister and his father in law is a minister as well. Alice's mom is still active with the church. So, stories fly around. For instance, Alice may have driven his mom to some church function and the next thing you know, people are saying that he was born again. It's no different than the chicken killing story. Alice is not a Satanist but he's not a religion nut either.
(Brian Nelson, January 1996)
Of course nowadays there is little question of Alice's religious views and he has been pretty vocal about it for a longtime now.
The Indian Arts Store
This was something Alice bought for his parents in the late 70's. It was fire bombed around 1979, destroying many valuable pieces of art and some of Alice's own sales awards. The city closed it in the mid-eighties due to some zoning changes. The store was called 'Alice Cooper's Native American Treasures' .
"It was located in the Scottsdale, Arizona area called 5th Avenue. The shop featured Native American artwork, jewelry, and weavings, along with some of Alice's work. The walls were adorned with his gold and platinum records, proudly displayed by his parents."
(Lynn Loretto, 7th October 2001)
Alice's make-up is copyrighted in some shape or manner. There was no specific reasoning for the design. It kind of developed out of a demented clown puppet thing I once heard him say.
(Brian Nelson, October 1995)
Alice the Musician
Alice plays harmonica on "Sing Low, Sweet Cheerio" (Pretties For You), "I'm Eighteen" (Love It To Death), "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" (Killer), "Workin' Up A Sweat" (Muscle Of Love), "Dirty Dreams" (Hey Stoopid) and "Bad Place Alone" (The Last Temptation).
I think he played Harmonica a couple of times when 'Dirty Dreams' was done on the 'Hey Stoopid' tour.
(Brian Nelson, October 1996)
On the 1997 tour, Alice played guitar in public for the first time. He played rhythm guitar on 'I'm Eighteen' during the US leg of the tour. He also did this on the live performance of the song on 'The Tonight Show' on 30th August 1997. Alice used one of Ryan Roxie's 'Roxie SS' guitars made by GMP in California.
In 2005 Alice pulled out his harmonica again to play on "Zombie Dance" from "Dirty Diamonds"
He can play a little guitar and a little piano but never really uses them for song writing (he may have a little in the 70s.) He comes up with a lot of musical parts for his songs but usually "hums" (for lack of a better word) the parts to his song writing partner. The lyrics come before, after and during the writing of a song. No set rules there.
(Brian Nelson, August 1995)
Brian Nelson on Alice and Song writing:
How does Alice go about writing material?
Gets an idea, grabs a hunk of paper, and writes down the lyrics.
Does he have a regular writing pattern that he likes to follow?
No schedule. If he HAS to come up with a song, he can do it in a day.
..Or does he just wait for the muse to strike him with divine inspiration?
Depends on what's going on.
Is Alice solely responsible for only the lyrics in his songs, or does he have a lot of musical ideas to contribute as well to the songs with his co-writers? If so,what instrument does he compose on?
He sometimes "hums" musical ideas. The lyrics are usually his but if someone already wrote lyrics of a song; he sometimes takes those and modifies them.
Does he ever ask you for your opinion when tossing around ideas?
He always lets me read them but I can't tell until he sings them.
How does he choose who he collaborates with and what is his SOP for co-writing his material?
There is no standard for that. Sometimes, it's just a tape sent in by someone and he never even meets the co-writer.
Are the arrangements that are played live all arranged by Alice or does the band, at that time, have a say so in the way that they are presented?
Mostly Alice but he is open to suggestions.
Don't try and write directly to Alice at any addresses you may hear of as being his home address. It won't work.
Alice himself is NOT online as such, although he sometimes looks around online using someone elses computer.
Alice does get some fan mail that makes it to his private home address and everyone who lives there knows to throw it in the garbage as not to acknowledge that he lives there.
(Brian Nelson, August 1996)
The best way to get a message to Alice, beyond meeting him in person, is probably via the official facebook page. People close to Alice see everything there and if it's important can easily pass it on to Alice himself.
The scar seen on Alice's torso in the 'Killer' calendar is an appendix scar.
Alice's shoe size is 9. Now leave me alone.(The only reason I know his shoe size is cuz I have those 'Billion Dollar Babies' boots. - ouch, talk about rubbing it in!
(Brian Nelson, June 1995)
Even though Alice's Beverly Hills house had been in a fire, it had been repaired. Those old "Maps of Hollywood Stars' Homes" sometimes still list that house. In the late '80s, we saw the house. It had a sign outside that read: "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Go Back and Get a Refund!" [The sign was placed there by Shep Gordon].
(Susie, August 1996)
For the record, Alice is really good at gambling. Good poker player, unbelievably lucky with slots.
(Brian Nelson, January 1996)
On Band Members:
It's a very casual relationship. There have only been a couple of guys over the years that didn't seem to quite fit in. The line-up of the main changes only because most of the guys wind-up going on to other gigs over the course of time. Being able to play poker is a big plus as Alice will sometimes have a poker party in his hotel room and that is the usually the main activity on bus rides.
(Brian Nelson, March 1998)
Alice hates needles with a passion.
(Brian Nelson, April 1997)
Alice is very into dental hygiene after many years of self abuse. He flosses nightly with waxed (I had him using my favorite, dental tape -much thicker- for awhile but I think he reverted) and he even uses those threader things.
(Brian Nelson, March 1996)
Alice is famous for his pre-show habit of watching bad Kung-Fu movies while on the road.
"Alice has thousands of Kung Fu films, and he typically likes the worse ones more. It's always Kung Fu before the show and Horror movies on the bus. Recently we went from carrying books of DVD's (I would carry 2 books of 800 films) to carrying an iMac with digital copies of some of the films. I typically copy enough on the breaks to cover however many shows we're doing on the next run, and it really saves on space traveling. Eventually I want to have his entire Kung Fu collection copied, though that'll take forever. Takes me about 20 minutes a video to copy. It's also pretty cool because I can keep track of what he's watched and he can rate the film. When it's over he can move on to the next one without any fuss.
In the old days, Brian Nelson used to have to carry around VHS players and find tapes, and as you can imagine that would be a HUGE pain in the butt, and I'm glad that we're living in a digital world these days!"
(Kyler Clarke, October 2013)
Alice's big hobby is collecting watches. He reputably has hundreds and can regularly be found in antique shops when on tour looking for more watches for his collection.
Alice has a classic Mustang, a Mercedes Benz, a fully equipped van and a Bentley. He is constantly trading, selling and buying cars. It's a bit of a hobby of his.
(Brian Nelson, January 1996)
He also has finantial interests in at least one car sales company in Phoenix, and each year auctions a car the the famous Barrett-Jackson car auction in Phoenix, sometimes customised Alice Cooper style cars.
Alice used to collect autographs but now is a huge watch collector. He has a large display case at home full of his favourites.
Yup. Alice really have Jack the Ripper's autograph. It was some Prince dude that they figured was the culprit. It's really nicely framed with a dagger.
(Brian Nelson, November 1995)
He has most of his gold and platinum albums and the various awards he's received. He also has a Wall Of Fame which is a huge display of photos of himself with famous people. (Brian Nelson, November 1997)
Yes, Alice paints on occasion. He's pretty darn good. I have a few of them. A few times he has done a sketch that have been auctioned off at various charity events. Why hasn`t Alice done any of his album covers? Interesting notion. It's never came up (although, you do see his initials on the artwork for 'Flush The Fashion'. I hate to burst bubbles but although it was Alice's concept and he did the original art for it, someone else did the final version.) He does do sketches sometimes for album cover ideas.
(Compiled from Brian Nelson quotes , August 1996)
There is book called 'Musicians as Artists' by Jim McMullan (isbn 1885203063) that includes two pages on Alice with four reproductions of his art including an idea for an album cover called 'Force Fed'. You can check Amazons page for availability here.