News: Love, Peace, Soul: Don Cornelius Dead At 75

Wednesday, Feb 1, 2012 10:13AM

Written by J. Bachelor

Entertainment legend and Soul Train creator Don Cornelius was found dead in early Wednesday (February 1) morning, in what is being reported as a suicide.

Sources say the 75-year-old Cornelius died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"Soul Train" creator Don Cornelius was found dead at his Sherman Oaks on home Wednesday morning. Law enforcement sources said police arrived at Cornelius' home around 4 a.m. He apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing. The sources said there was no sign of foul play, but the Los Angeles Police Department was investigating. (LA Times)

Cornelius' Soul Train marked the dawn of a new era in black entertainment, as the show created a platform for many entertainers that are now considered legends.

Cornelius is best known as the creator of the dance/music franchise "Soul Train," which aired in syndication from October 1971 to March 2006. The show was the first major American TV venue for soul music. It was instrumental in bringing acts like James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson to a larger audience. Cornelius hosted the show from 1971-1993. He was known for closing each episode with the catchphrase: "I'm Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!" The show spun off the Soul Train Awards and the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards.(Orlando Sentinel)

Cornelius hosted the show from 1970 to 1993, and the program continued to air for more than a decade after his departure.

Cornelius, with his deep voice, stylish clothes and Afro, provided a hipper alternative to Dick Clark and "American Bandstand" when his show debuted on Aug. 17, 1970. It was syndicated a year later, making Cornelius a national star. Although he dropped out as host in 1993, the show continued running until December 2007. (New York Daily News)

Cornelius had discussed a possible Soul Train movie in past interviews, saying the project would be more of a biopic than a film highlighting the show's music.

The Los Angeles Times said there was no sign of foul play at the scene of Cornelius' death, but are investigating. He told the paper in a 2010 interview that plans were being made for a biographical "Soul Train" movie. "We've been in discussions with several people about getting a movie off the ground. It wouldn't be the 'Soul Train' dance show, it would be more of a biographical look at the project," he said. (MSNBC)

Check out some vintage Soul Train footage below:

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