Don Cornelius, “Soul Train” Creator & Host, Dies From Apparent Suicide
A press information officer at the Los Angeles Police Department told CBS Radio News that police responded to a call of a shooting at Cornelius’ home in Los Angeles. There is no suspicion of foul play. Officers found Cornelius at his Mulholland Drive home at around 4 a.m., police said. He was pronounced dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at 4:56 a.m. at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter.
“I am shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden passing of my friend, colleague, and business partner Don Cornelius,” said Quincy Jones. “Don was a visionary pioneer and a giant in our business. Before MTV there was ‘Soul Train,’ that will be the great legacy of Don Cornelius. 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.”
“Soul Train” began in 1970 in Chicago on WCIU-TV as a local program and aired nationally from 1971 to 2006.
It introduced television audiences to such legendary artists as Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Barry White and brought the best R&B, soul and later hip-hop acts to TV and had teenagers dance to them. It was one of the first shows to showcase African-Americans prominently, although the dance group was racially mixed. Cornelius was the first host and executive producer.
“There was not programming that targeted any particular ethnicity,” he said in 2006, then added: “I’m trying to use euphemisms here, trying to avoid saying there was no television for black folks, which they knew was for them.”
Cornelius, who was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 1995 and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, said in 2006 he remained grateful to the musicians who made “Soul Train” the destination for the best and latest in black music.
“I figured as long as the music stayed hot and important and good, that there would always be a reason for ‘Soul Train,’” Cornelius said.
The series spawned a franchise that includes the Soul Train Music Awards, the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards and the Soul Train Christmas Starfest.
Cornelius stepped down as “Soul Train” host in 1993.
In his later years, Cornelius had a troubled marriage. In 2009, he was sentenced to three years’ probation after pleading no contest to misdemeanor spousal battery. In his divorce case that year, he also mentioned having significant health issues.
When You’re Just Not Feeling Right…
When you’re feeling down, there are some simple steps that you can take that can make all the difference:
• Seek medical help. A mental health professional may help you make a full recovery.
• Exercise. Increasing your heart rate at least three hours a week (or 30 minutes a day) may help boost your body’s natural mood-enhancers (endorphins)
• St. John’s Wort. Taking 600 to 1,200 mg a day of a standardized herbal extract containing of 0.3% hypericin to help with mild to moderate depression—but talk to your doctor first as St. John’s wort can interact with certain medications
• Iron. A lack of iron can make depression worse; check with a doctor to find out if you are iron deficient
• B vitamins. Take a supplement that contains folic acid and vitamins B12 and B6 to help correct deficiencies associated with depression.
To learn more about the warning signs of a potential mental health issue, read 4 Ways To Detect Mental Illness.
To learn more on depression and how to feel better, faster, visit BlackDoctor.org’s Depression Channel.