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…