Legendary ‘Soul Train’ creator Don Cornelius dead

by Staff, February 1st, 2012

Don CorneliusDon Cornelius, creator and host of ‘Soul Train‘, was found dead today in his Los Angeles home in what police are calling a self inflicted gunshot wound.

Police, responding to reports of gunshots at Cornelius’s Sherman Oaks home around 4:00 A.M. this morning, found Cornelius with a gunshot wound to the head. Paramedics were immediately dispatched to the home in an effort to save his life.He was transported to a nearby hospital where he was later pronounced dead. the Los Angeles County coroner has indicated the gunshot was self-inflicted.

On August 17, 1970, the first episode of ‘Soul Train‘ premiered on WCIU-TV, and before long the African American dance show became a national hit.

“If I saw `American Bandstand’ and I saw dancing and I knew black kids can dance better; and I saw white artists and I knew black artists make better music; and if I saw a white host and I knew a black host could project a hipper line of speech – and I did know all these things [then it was reasonable to try],” Cornelius told the Associated Press in 1995.

Cornelius owned Soul Train, making him the African American to own the rights to a network television program. ‘Soul Train‘ fostered the careers of dozens of black music stars from Michael Jackson to Barry White, but endured serious illnesses, business setbacks, and a nasty divorce before taking his own life (The Daily Beast).

Don Cornelius was 75.

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