Today in celebrities aren’t just like us, Alice Cooper found an Andy Warhol print worth millions that he forgot he owned for more than 40 years just casually “rolled up in a tube” in one of his storage lockers. The piece, a red Little Electric Chair silk screen dated either 1964 or 1965, was part of Warhol’s Death and Disaster series and is based on a 1953 photo of the death chamber at Sing Sing prison, where Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for Russian espionage. Cooper made the discovery four years ago after his manager, Shep Gordon, had dinner with an art dealer who told him the piece’s value. Cooper’s mother remembered that it got mixed up in storage with Cooper’s memorabilia, including, coincidentally, one of Cooper’s electric-chair stage props from the ’70s. Warhol and Cooper became close friends at that time over their mutual love of celebrities, so Cooper’s then-girlfriend Cindy Lang bought Cooper the print in 1972 and gave it to Gordon for safekeeping.
“Alice says he remembers having a conversation with Warhol about the picture. He thinks the conversation was real, but he couldn’t put his hand on a Bible and say that it was,” Gordon told The Guardian of that foggy period in Cooper’s life. Lang paid $2,500 for the print, but a similar green version went for $11.6 million at auction in 2015. Cooper said he didn’t want to be responsible for anything potentially that valuable and put it back into storage. That print is also unsigned and the Andy Warhol Foundation stopped authenticating his works in 2011, though a Warhol expert confirmed to Gordon, Cooper, and The Guardian that Cooper’s print is real. Gordon says that Cooper has had a change of heart about displaying the forgotten print in his home now that it’s been appraised by the Warhol expert. Cooper apparently never thought the print was a big deal and had this reaction when he found out: “Are you serious? I own that!” As for the rest of you famous people, maybe check your attics.