Don Cornelius, 'Soul Train' creator, dies

Don Cornelius, 'Soul Train' creator, dies
Don Cornelius, smooth voice, TV presenter, who brought black music and culture in the living rooms of America, when he created the dance show "Soul Train", was found dead at his home in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning in what appeared to be suicide, authorities said. He was 75.

Police in response to the shooting found the body of the report of Mr. Cornelius is at 4:00 am on the floor in his house on Mulholland Drive with a gunshot wound to the head. He seemed to have been self-inflicted, said Ed Winter, Los Angeles County assistant chief investigator.

He was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Police said they ruled out murder and talked with the relatives of the mental state of Mr. Cornelius to.

"Soul Train", one of the longest-running syndicated show in television history, has played a crucial role in spreading the music of black America in the world, offering a broad impact musicians like James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson in 1970 and 80 - x.

Soul Train was created outlets for black artists who would never have been if not for Cornelius, said Kenny Gamble, who with his partner Leon Huff, Philly Sound created the soul, and wrote the theme song for the show. It was a huge export from America to the world that have shown African-American life and the joy of music and dance, and it brought people together.

News of the death of Mr. Cornelius has prompted an outpouring of tributes from leaders of civil rights, musicians, entrepreneurs, scientists and writers. "He was able to provide the country with a window into the black youth culture and black music," said Lonnie G. Bouquet III, director of the National Museum of the Smithsonian African-American history and culture. "For young black teenagers, like me, he gave a sense of pride and a sense that we loved the culture can be shared and evaluated at national level."

Mr. Cornelius, a former disc jockey, has created a "Soul Train" in 1970 for television station WCIU Chicago and served as writer, producer and host. When it became a local sensation, he moved the show to Los Angeles and began broadcasting at the national level in 1971, beginning a 35-year run in syndication.

In its heyday, it was a formative experience every Saturday morning for young people from all walks of life, and provides some of the most important soul and R & B acts their first national exposure of television. It was also a platform for the white rock musicians such as Elton John and David Bowie to reach black audiences.

Besides the music, "Soul Train" presents dance and clothing styles, the popular among young blacks. It laid the foundation for dance programs such as Fox "So You Think You, Can Dance" and MTV's "America Best Dance Crew."

Born on the south side of Chicago, September 27, 1936, Mr. Cornelius was too early to go to the thrust of broadcasting. He graduated from DuSable High School in 1954, he joined the Marines and then returned to Chicago to marry a childhood sweetheart, Dolores Harrison. They had two sons, Anthony and Raymond, who are among his survivors.

In 1966, he abandoned his career selling insurance and cars to take three months, broadcast, of course, despite the presence of small children to feed. With his deep baritone voice, he got a job as a jockey to replace the drive on WVON in Chicago, and then as a sports anchor on the television program "View from Black news." He produced "Soul Train" pilot with $ 400 of their own money, taking the title from the road show he created for a local high school.

Soul Train was developed as a radio show on television," Mr. Cornelius said New York Times, in 1995. "It was a radio show that I always wanted and never had. I chose the music, and so far, just seeing what success in the charts.

He said that the show was originally modeled on Dick Clark's "American Variety," but with a focus on black music, fashion and dance. "There was no program that targets a specific ethnic group," he told Associated Press in 2006. "I'm trying to use euphemisms here, trying not to say there was no television for black people, they knew it was for them."

The formula for the show has not changed over the years, though, and sets have been updated and transformed music from Motown to funk and rap in the end. As the host each week, Mr. Cornelius, the high and mighty, will play the latest songs and pen a few artists to be interviewed. They will do a song or two, sometimes live, sometimes lip-synching. He signed with each show by intoning "Love, peace and soul."

Mr. Cornelius has retired as host in 1993, handing the reins of a series of actors, comedians and other hosts guest. "I took myself, because I just felt that 22 years was enough, and that the audience is changing, and I was not," he said.

It was not until 2006, however, that he stopped the production of new shows. He sold the franchise and the archives of two years a subsidiary of Vibe Holdings LLC.

In recent years, he experienced a bitter divorce with his second wife, Victoria Chapman-Cornelius, a Russian model. In 2008 he was arrested and charged with spousal battery, assault with a firearm and to dissuade a witness from making a police report, all misdemeanors, after a domestic dispute with his wife in their home.

A year later he was sentenced to three years probation after pleading no contest to misdemeanor spousal battery charges in a deal. During the divorce proceedings in the same year, he mentioned that "significant health problems," but did not elaborate.

Clarence Avant, the former chairman of Motown Records, said that the proposal by Mr. Cornelius took his own life surprised his friends. He did not appear sad or upset, when the two men met for lunch last week, Mr. Avant said, although Mr. Cornelius had mentioned that he had a seizure in recent times and avoid driving yourself. "He was very private," Mr. Avant said.

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