Don Cornelius who created and hosted TV’s ‘Soul Train’, died on Wednesday of an apparent suicide at the age of 75.
The one time salesman came to be known as one of the ‘coolest’ hosts ever on television by hosting the musical variety show.
According to another former Soul Train host, Shemar Moore, Cornelius’s health had been declining and he may have been starting to suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Early on Wednesday morning, Los Angeles Police responded to a call to the Cornelius residence, after a report of a gunshot. When they arrived they found Cornelius with what appeared to be a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
After trying to be a salesman and brief stint as a police officer, Don took a 3 month broadcasting course then got a job as a DJ at a Chicago radio station. In the mid 60’s after moving to Los Angeles and seeing an opportunity to expose people to soul music and African American musicians, much like American Bandstand did for other types of music, he created ‘Soul Train’ which first started broadcasting locally in LA.
In 1971 the show was picked up for national syndication and Don Cornelius was the host until 1993. He was known for his fast smooth catch phrase at the end of end of each show saying, “… we wish you love, peace and soul!”