- Name: Alice Cooper (Vincent Damon Furnier)
- Instrument: Vocals, Harmonica, Occasional Guitar, Humour and Sarcasm.
- Born: February 4th 1948
- Joined: 1948!
- Left: N/A
- Alice Cooper Tours: All of them!
- Alice Cooper Albums: All of them and much more!
This whole site is about Alice Cooper, both man and band, so also having a specific page about the man is possibly slightly redundant. There are many books, including two auto-biographies, that claim to tell his personal story with varying degree's of accuracy! There's also the fine line between giving general personal information and invading privacy. For example you will not find very much information about Alice's religious or political views on this site - that's his private life and no one else's business. However there's lots of other things that ARE public knowledge and help bring an understanding of the sickly little boy from Detroit who became a cultural icon and rock legend.
Alice with his parents in 1976.
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 at Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix from emphysema. Alice cancelled shows and flew back for the funeral. Contrary to what was sometimes suggested in the 70s press Alice always had a very good relationship with his father, who even wrote an introduction to Alice's first biography 'Me, Alice'.
Unsurprisingly much has been made of Alice's father being a preacher. He rediscovered his faith around 1960. 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."
His mother, Ella Mae McCart (b. 16th Sept 1925), lives with Alice in Phoenix, Arizona and yes, it WAS her in the Fisher commercials in the 90s. In the last decade, and with the advent of the internet, Ella Cooper has been rather more visible then in previous decades. She sometimes appears with Alice at Phoenix events, espcially related to the Solid Rock charity, and with Cooper kids all online there are far more occasions to see her at family events.
Alice has one older sister, Nicola (b. 1946) who lives in California and was married to Frank Crandall, who receieved a writing credit on 'Dance Yourself To Death'from 'Special Forces', 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. It seems she just prefers to stay out of the limelight. The one big exception was at the Hollywood Walk Of Fame presentation where she joined in for family photos around the 'Star'.
A Young Vincent Furnier.
[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.
From 'Me, Alice':
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.
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 over a year in bed Watching TV!
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.
At Cortez 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 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." ('Me Alice')
His other best friend at Cortez was Dennis Dunaway, a fellow art fan and runner. Together with Buxton they would form the core of what would eventually become Alice Cooper.
Alice excelled at distance running in school and was a member of the Cortez 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. Chances are this is just Alice combining two seperate stories but the fact remains his nose is one of hs most distinctive features.
Alice never finished his degree... Instead he left Phoenix to go to Hollywood and became a big rock star.
Alice legally changed his name in 1974. His name IS Alice Cooper! Any quiz show or competition that asks "what is Alice Cooper's real name?" expecting the answer "Vincent Furnier" is technically incorrect, since he legally changed his name in 1974.
Vincent Furnier started going by the name Alice Cooper around April 1968. In 'Me, Alice' he states he started calling himself Alice right after a traffic accident n April 12th 1968 tat he and the band were in. There is a scan of that police report showing that the accident occurred on April 12th '68 and amazingly it even made the Los Angeles Times newspaper, including a picture of the band sitting with their gear beside the wrecked car.
Alice and Cindy Lang
Madison Square Gardens 1975.
Cindy was a model and Alice's long time girlfriend during the early 70s, all through the beginnings of the band up to the 'Welcome To My Nightmare' tour. It isn't really clear (Alice probably being too much the gentleman to offer up any details) exactly when the relationship ended. There are photographs of Alice and Cindy backstage at Madison Square Gardens in 1975, after he had met Sheryl, but the suggestion is that their relationship was on the rocks before that, with Alice rarely being home.
After they broke up Cindy sued Alice for palimony and the press followed the story for some years. Cindy got quite a bit of media attention at the time and appearances on '60 Minutes', and 'Phil Donahue' have been mentioned but to my knowledge copies have never surfaced. The case was one of the first ever palimony case - which is a case where an unmarried partner sues for part of their ex-partners estate. A similar case against actor Lee Marvin is probably the most famous early palimoney case and recieved even more press attention around the same time.
Cindy's contention was that Alice's career, and the time she had spent with him, had damaged her own career opportunities as a model, and that she should be compensated for the work she herself hadn't been able to do during these years while she had supported Alice. However it could be argued that being in a relationship with one of the biggest rock stars in the world should have opened up more opportunities rather then less. Cindy had her own connections as well, including Andy Warhol. Photographs exist of Alice, Cindy and Warhol sitting together at a club, and she appeared on the cover of Warhol's 'Interview' magazine around 1974. Decades later Alice would find an original Warhol print, estimated to now be worth several million dollars, given to him as a present by Cindy, who got it from Warhol for around $2500.
The case was eventually settled out of court in 1982. Cindy was originally suing Alice for around 5 million dollars but the final settlement much less then that. 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.
Alice and Sheryl Cooper
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 'multicoloured'), 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, well known to Alice fans the world over having followed in her mothers footsteps by being part of Alice's shows between 2000 and 2010, playing the female parts on stage including Nurse Rozetta, Britney Spears and the Whipgirl for 'Go To Hell' and occasionally being introduced on stage by Alice as 'my own little nightmare'. She is also an actress, comedian, and singer for 'Beasto Blanco'.
Calico married Jed Williams in 2015 at a ceremony on Maui, Hawaii. The couple posted a classic youtube clip of Calico dancing with her father at the wedding.
Dashiel Cooper has his own "desert rock" band in Phoenix called 'CO-OP' (previously 'Runaway Phoenix') who released their excellent first album in 2018. "Dash" doesn't really sound much like his father but he has a great voice and the band are well worth checking out. He also works for Precise Corporate Staging who provide audio and lighting for various events including some Alice Cooper shows. In November 2014 Dash and his wife Morgan provided Alice with his first granchildren named Falcon Jay and Riot Vincent Cooper. In 2018 it was announced Dash and Morgan were expecting again.
Sonora Rose Cooper left school to become a "hip hop" dance teacher, working at the 'Dance Fusion' dance school on Phoenix where her mother also worked for some years. She trained in all styles of dance starting at the age of 2 and has gone on to study hip hop under Phoenix's famous "Footklan break dancing crew". Sonora has taught hip hop for the Salvation Army program, and has taught master classes at the Solid Rock Foundation. She also teaches an annual class at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Hawaii. She also does work as a make-up artist.
Back in the late 90s there were many rumours that Alice had supposedly "found religion" or was "Born again". This is a little misleading as Alice had always been religious, it's just that as a young, rich, rock star in the seventies and eighties he wisely didn't spend much time talking about it, certainly publically! However Alice's songs have often had a religious element to them going as far back as 'Field's Of Regret' on 'Pretties For You'. Something did change though after his final trip to the hospital in the early 80s, and he now credits his beliefs, and those of his family, for his recovery. Apparently doctors and stopping taking the things that were killing him didn't have much to do with it...
This shouldn't be all that surprising considering both his father and father-in-law were ministers, and his family are active with their local Phoenix church taking part in fundraisers and the like. And Alice has always been quick to correct anyone who suggested there was anything satanic in his shows.
Nowadays there is little question of Alice's religious views, would could be consider quite extreme, and he has been pretty vocal about it for a longtime now, often starting a new wave of "Alice finds religion" news articles as if it was actually news.
So yes, Alice is a Christian, and he says he believes everything in the Bible is true. Deal with it!
Advert for 'Native American Treasures'.
The Indian Arts Store
This is something that comes up from time time so I'll cover it here. The shop was something Alice bought for his parents in the late 70's. It was fire bombed on July 27th 1979, causing over $200,000 worth of damage and destroying many valuable pieces of art as well as some of Alice's own sales awards. The city eventually forced it to close close in the mid-eighties due to some zoning changes.
"The store was called 'Alice Cooper's Native American Treasures' and 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 the Musician
Alice plays harmonica on 'Sing Low, Sweet Cheerio' (from 'Pretties For You'), 'I'm Eighteen' (from 'Love It To Death'), 'Yeah, Yeah, Yeah (from 'Killer), 'Workin' Up A Sweat (from Muscle Of Love'), 'Dirty Dreams' (from 'Hey Stoopid' and twice when the song was played live in 1989) and 'Bad Place Alone' (from 'The Last Temptation') and 'Zombie Dance' (from 'Dirty Diamonds'). He's also been known to play it live on occasion, especially more recently with the 'Hollywood Vampires'.
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 and also when he performed the song live on 'The Tonight Show' on 30th August 1997. Alice used one of Ryan Roxie's 'Roxie SS' guitars made by GMP in California. Contrary to some suggestions the guitar was definitly turned on and working.
..and Alice played guitar.. 1997.
NOTE: This is probably pretty redundant information now, but when this site was created in the late 90s it was still an issue, so I keep this hear for amusement as much as anything else.
Don't try and write directly to Alice at any real world addresses you may hear of as being his home address. It won't work. Everyone at the house has instructions to throw it in the garbage as not to acknowledge that he lives there.
Alice himself is NOT online as such, although he sometimes looks around using someone else's computer and as everyone on the road nowadays has their own laptop he has been known to pop up, for example when one of the band is webcasting live backstage and Alice wanders past he will often say "hi" or make some comment. Messages posted to social media are generally posted on his behalf, unless they consist of a direct quote such as marking a death of a friend. These WOULD be Alice's words, but posted by his assistant.
If you ever recieve a direct email from Alice it's a fake. There's always some idiot who thinks it's a good idea to prey on unsuspecting people, normally to get some money out of them. If there is a reason to contact you personally you will likely expect it, and it will come from his management team or personal assistant.
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 they can easily pass it on to Alice himself.
Trivia - AKA random interesting or amusing information that doesn't fit anywhere else!
The scar seen on Alice's torso in the 'Killer' calendar is real. It's an appendix scar.
"Alice's shoe size is 9. The only reason I know his shoe size is cuz I have those 'Billion Dollar Babies' leopard boots. - ouch, talk about rubbing it in!" - Brian Nelson, June 1995
"Alice's old Beverly Hills home had been in a fire, and later been repaired. Those old "Maps of Hollywood Stars' Homes" sometimes still list that house as Alice's home address. In the late '80s it had a sign outside that read: "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Go Back and Get a Refund!" placed there by Shep Gordon!. - Susie, August 1996
An example of Alice's artwork.
For the record, Alice is really good at gambling. Good poker player, unbelievably lucky with slots. The band often have an ongoing poker tournament on the bus after shows and suppoedly it's not been unknown for a band member to leave the tour owing money!
Alice hates needles with a passion, which is probably the main reason he's never had any tattoos.
Alice is famous for his pre-show habit of watching bad Kung-Fu movies while on the road. In recent years he's also taken to thowing knives at various targets.
"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 used to collect celebrity autographs and had in his collection many famous and infamous signitures including one that was claimed to be the real 'Jack The Ripper' which was nicely framed with a dagger. Nowadays he collects antique watches. He has a large display case at home full of his favourites. He reputably has hundreds in his collection and can regularly be found in antique shops when on tour looking for more for his collection.
Alice is also a bit of a car nut and enjoys restoring old classcis which are then auctioned off each year at the the famous Barrett-Jackson car auction in Phoenix. Some are customised Alice Cooper style cars. He also has finantial interests in at least one car sales company in Phoenix, and has doen a series of adverts for them over the years.
He still has most of his gold and platinum albums from over the years, and the various other awards he's received. He also has/had a 'Wall Of Fame' which is a huge display of photos of himself with other famous people.
Alice, the ex-art student, still paints on occasion. You can see his initials on the artwork for 'Flush The Fashion' while 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. There was book called 'Musicians as Artists' by Jim McMullan (isbn 1885203063) that included 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.