R.I.P. Soul Train Creator Don Cornelius, 1936-2012

Categories: R.I.P.
Don Cornelius, R.I.P.

Don Cornelius, the visionary TV producer who created and hosted Soul Train, was found dead in his Los Angeles home this morning of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 75 years old. Cornelius was found in his home at 4 a.m. and investigators have not yet ruled his death a suicide or a homicide.

Cornelius was a disc jockey and journalist who emceed a traveling concert series called "The Soul Train" before creating the TV show Soul Train as we know it in 1970. One of the first African-Americans to own a media empire, Cornelius served as the host, producer and writer for his flagship program, a showcase of R&B and dance music of the day. Soul Train's massive success helped popularize several generations of black American music, introducing James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Run-D.M.C. and countless others to worldwide audiences. He continued to host until 1993, ended the show in 2006, and sold the rights in 2008, with a Soul Train movie possibility discussed in a 2010 interview, along with Cornelius' personal and health problems.

"Soul Train" went on to become the longest-running syndicated television show of all time, a record which will only be broken if Entertainment Tonight is still around in 2016. 

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