warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

"Soul Train" Host Don Cornelius Dead Of Apparent Suicide

Leslie Velez |
February 1, 2012 | 11:27 a.m. PST

Executive Producer


LOS ANGELES - Don Cornelius, 75, creator of the long-running music variety television show “Soul Train,” was found early Wednesday morning in his Encino, California home with a gunshot wound to the head.  According to the Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Police Department responded to a report of a shooting at the home at 4 a.m., and Cornelius was later pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of an apparent suicide.  Cornelius had recently gone through a divorce.  

Don Cornelius
Don Cornelius

Cornelius, noting the lack of targeted television programming, produced a television show directed toward African Americans in 1970 that showcased popular performers and for the first time, put funk, R&B, soul, and hip hop artists in the spotlight.  Known as "the hippest trip in America," the program was syndicated from Chicago station WCIUin 1971; Cornelius stopped hosting the show in 1993 and “Soul Train” was finally cancelled in 2006.

Artist and music producer Quincy Jones was quoted in USA TODAY as saying, "I am shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden passing of my friend, colleague, and businessDon Cornelius.  Don was a visionary pioneer and a giant in our business. Before MTV, there was Soul Train, that will be (his)legacy. … 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."

“I have known him since I was 19-years-old and James Brown had me speak on Soul Train,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement from New York. “He brought soul music and dance to the world in a way that it had never been shown and he was a cultural game changer on a global level.” (Washington Post)

At the end of every show, Cornelius signed off with his famous announcement: "And you can bet your last money, it's all gonna be a stone gas, honey! I'm Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!" (USA TODAY)



Reach Executive Producer Leslie Velez here.

Leslie Velez on Twitter.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.