Soul Train’s Don Cornelius Found Dead

The idea was simple — but groundbreaking: Create a live showcase for black music, modeled on “American Bandstand.”

Don Cornelius pulled $400 from his own pocket to launch the dance show on a local Chicago TV station in 1970. As host and executive producer of “Soul Train,” he was soon at the throttle of a nationally syndicated television institution that was the first dance show to cater to the musical tastes of black teenagers and also helped bring black music, dance, fashion and style to mainstream America.

In the process of presenting the soul, funk and R&B of the day, the Afro-haired, dapper Mr. Cornelius became a TV icon, his sonorous baritone welcoming viewers to “the hippest trip in America.”
Mr. Cornelius, 75, was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday after a family member found him in his home with a gunshot wound to his head, according to law enforcement sources. The wound appeared to be self-inflicted, but the death was being investigated by police and the coroner’s office. Continue Reading…

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Don Cornelius Soul Train Creator Dies of Suicide

Don Cornelius Soul Train Creator Dies of Suicide: Don Cornelius, the creator of the long-running TV dance show “Soul Train,” shot himself to death Wednesday morning at his home, police said. He was 75.

Officers responding to a report of a shooting found Cornelius at his Mulholland Drive home at around 4 a.m., police said. He was pronounced dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at 4:56 a.m. at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter.

“I am shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden passing of my friend, colleague, and business partner Don Cornelius,” said Quincy Jones. “Don was a visionary pioneer and a giant in our business. Before MTV there was ‘Soul Train,’ that will be the great legacy of Don Cornelius. His contributions to television, music and our culture as a whole will never be matched. My heart goes out to Don’s family and loved ones.” Continue Reading…