Don Cornelius “Soul Train” creator dies at age 75

The New York Times

Don Cornelius, the producer and television host who created the television dance show “Soul Train,” was found shot dead in his Los Angeles home on Wednesday morning, and detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department were looking trying to determine if his death was a suicide.

A person at the producer’s house on Mulholland Drive in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood called the police and reported shots had been fired just before 4 a.m., a police spokesman, Chris No, said. When officers arrived, they were let into the house and found Mr. Cornelius lying lifeless on the floor. He was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was 75 years old.

“We don’t know if he committed suicide,” Mr. No said. “It’s still under investigation.”

“Soul Train” was one of the longest-running syndicated shows in television history and played a critical role in spreading the music of black America to the world, offering wide exposure to musicians such as James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson in the 1970s and 1980s.

“As always in parting, we wish you love, peace, and soul.”
– Don Cornelius.

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27 Responses to Don Cornelius “Soul Train” creator dies at age 75

  1. “As Always in Parting, We Wish You Love, Peace And Souuuuuul!”

    Times Square Soul Train Flash Mob Full Video

  2. “As Always in Parting, We Wish You Love, Peace And Souuuuuul!”

    • Gladys Knight & the Pips – On and On

    • Al Green performs “Let’s Stay Together” on Soul Train 1972

    • Friends pay tribute to Don Cornelius in New York

      NEW YORK (AP) — Fans and friends including Roberta Flack paid tribute to “Soul Train” creator Don Cornelius in Harlem on Saturday, calling the producer a fearless pioneer who brought black music to television and gave hundreds of dancers and musicians their start.

      “He didn’t have a great big light telling him `Go over here, don’t go over there, watch where you step, there’s a hole right there,'” Flack told the crowd. “He stepped.”

      Search: Fans react to Don Cornelius’ death

      Activist Al Sharpton led the tribute as part of the weekly community meeting at the headquarters of his National Action Network. In 1974 a 19-year-old Sharpton appeared on “Soul Train” to present an award to musician James Brown.

      Cornelius, 75, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Wednesday. He had suffered from health problems, a difficult divorce, and had pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor spousal battery charge in 2009.

      But on Saturday fans praised Cornelius’ vision in creating, hosting and selling “Soul Train” to television stations that were originally skeptical about programming aimed at blacks. The show aired from 1971 to 2006.

      Former “Soul Train” dancer Tyrone Proctor recalled how he hid in the trunk of a friend’s car to get through the gates of the studio where “Soul Train” was filmed in 1972. Cornelius liked his dance moves and let him stay, dubbing Proctor “The Bone” because he was so skinny.


  3. Don Cornelius 1936-2012

  4. Soul Train Line Living For The Weekend O’Jays

  5. Don Cornelius’ son: Dad called me day he died
    Tony Cornelius says ‘Soul Train’ creator was ‘unhappy about things that had gone on in his life and his health’

    The late “Soul Train” creator Don Cornelius had been unhappy about some things that had gone on in his life and his health, his son Tony Cornelius said Thursday.

    The day he shot himself dead, Cornelius called him, Tony Cornelius told “CBS This Morning” anchor Gayle King Thursday.

    “It was a call of urgency, and I came to his home immediately,” Tony Cornelius told King, although he did not say whether he was the one to find the body.

    Police were called to Don Cornelius’ Los Angeles home Wednesday morning and found him with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was taken to Cedars Sinai Hospital, where has pronounced dead. He was 75.

    There was no suicide note.

  6. Don Cornelius dead: Why ‘Soul Train’ will never leave America’s station

    Don Cornelius, the beloved host and creator of ‘Soul Train’ is dead as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. In the following piece, Grio contributor Earl Ofari Hutchinson reflects on the legacy of the show and its iconic host.

    A few days before the release of The Best of Soul Train DVD set Soul Train founder, creator and impresario Don Cornelius was asked what it was that made Soul Train the hit that was. Cornelius didn’t hesitate, “That was the period when soul music grew up.”

    Cornelius could have added one more thing to his on-point observation for the reason for the show’s success. It was also the music that I, and many other blacks, grew up with. It was virtually a black household ritual to do one of two things when Saturday rolled around and it was Soul Train time. One was to sway, swoon, and sing the lyrics belted out by the parade of R&B legends and top hit artists, Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, the Jackson Five, Stevie Wonder, and the Four Tops who regularly turned up on the show.

    [wpvideo 3dWZoNtS]

  7. “Soul Train” creator Don Cornelius commits suicide

    (Reuters) – Don Cornelius, creator of the iconic TV music and dance show “Soul Train” that helped introduce Americans to black pop culture, died on Wednesday after shooting himself in the head, Los Angeles officials said.

    Police found the body of Cornelius, 75, at his house in the wealthy, hillside area of Los Angeles called Sherman Oaks at around 4 a.m on Wednesday. He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

    “The death was reported as a suicide, a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,” Los Angeles coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter said. Police said there was no evidence of foul play.

    It was not immediately known why Cornelius would have taken his own life, although he was said to have been in failing health in recent years.

    Cornelius, who launched “Soul Train” in Chicago in the early 1970s and hosted it for more than 20 years, told a judge in his 2009 divorce that he was suffering from significant health issues and wanted the case settled quickly.

    “Soul Train”, which ran until 2006, became part of U.S. pop culture history, boosting the careers of newcomers like the Jackson Five and older artists such as James Brown who were trying to tap into a younger audience.

    Almost immediately following news that he died, tributes poured in from the music world.

  8. BET schedules programs in honor of ‘Soul Train’ creator Don Cornelius

    BET Networks has scheduled special programming honoring Don Cornelius, the creator of “Soul Train.” Cornelius was found dead in his Los Angeles home early Wednesday; reports indicate that Cornelius shot himself.

    According to the announcement from BET, tonight’s “106 & Park” will pay tribute to Cornelius, at 6 p.m. That’s followed at 8 p.m., by the documentary, “Soul Train: Hippest Trip in America.”

    On the BET-affiliated network, Centric, a 24-hour marathon of classic “Soul Train” episodes begins tonight at midnight.

    Debra L. Lee, chairman and CEO of BET Networks said in a statement:

    “We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Don Cornelius. He was a pioneer in the television and music industries and his legacy and influence on American culture will continue to live on for many generations to come. He made Soul Train a destination for lovers of black culture and music and connected the world to our culture and we are forever grateful.”

  9. rikyrah says:

    many a Saturday was spent watching Soul Train. the soundtrack of my life was pretty much on Soul Train.

  10. Soul Train Line Dance to Aretha Franklin Rock Steady

  11. Soul Train Line PYT Michael Jackson

  12. Soul Train memories..


  13. Soul Train Memories..

    Get On The Good Foot

  14. Ametia says:

    Mr. Cornelius. May the Blessing BE!

    Soul Train FOREVER is right, SG2. Don and ST replaced those Saturday morning cartoons for me. It had style, flair, funk, fun, debonair, the chic, and Mr. Cornelius delivered BLACKNESS

    • Oh yes, Don Cornelius delivered blackness indeed! I watch him religiously on Saturdays. Loved every minute of it! I never wanted the show to end. Soul Train was a place to see so many black people having fun, dancing & Souuuuul! Good stuff!

  15. Don Cornelius dances on Soul Train

  16. I lived to watch Soul Train on Saturdays. I loved Don Cornelius because he was so cool.

    “love, peace, and soul.”
    – Don Cornelius.

    Soul Train Forever!

    RIP Don Cornelius!


      Cornelius’ colleagues have been quick to commemorate him. Aretha Franklin, who shot to fame in part because of “Soul Train,” released a statement calling Cornelius’ death “sad, stunning, and downright shocking … a huge and momentous loss to the African-American community and the world at large.”

      Smokey Robinson put out a statement saying Cornelius “brought exposure to black talent and a positive image to young black teenagers that had never been done before.” Quincy Jones called his “friend, colleague, and business partner” a “visionary pioneer and a giant in our business.”

      “Before MTV there was Soul Train, that will be the great legacy of Don Cornelius,” Jones said. “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.”

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