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 Don Cornelius

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Don Cornelius

  • Original Name Donald Cortez
  • Birth 27 Sep 1936 Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
  • Death 1 Feb 2012 Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles County, California, USA
  • Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend
  • Memorial ID 84308646

Television Personality. Fondly remembered as the robust-voiced host and creator of the popular dance-oriented program "Soul Train". Cornelius was born in Chicago. After graduating from DuSable High School in 1954, he joined the US Marine Corps and was stationed in Korea for 18 months. He worked as a car and insurance salesman until the mid-1960s. Encouraged by compliments about his smooth baritone voice, he attended broadcasting school and entered show business as a part-time disc jockey at Chicago's WVON Radio. He then moved onto TV and made a name for himself as host of the program "A Black's View of the News" with WCIU in 1968. Inspired by Dick Clark and "American Bandstand", Cornelius envisioned a similar format geared for the black youths of America that displayed the top contemporary artists. With funding from his own pocket, his notion became a reality when "Soul Train" made its debut on August 17th, 1970. The following year major American markets that included Philadelphia, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Detroit picked up the series broadening its viewership. Among the personalities that frequented included Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, Al Green and Aretha Franklin, in addition to David Bowie and Elton John. Cornelius served as host from 1971 until 1993 always closing out the episode with his phrase "We wish you love, peace and soul". In 2006, the final episode of "Soul Train" was filmed. Many giants in the music and television industry have acknowledged the significance and impact the series has had on the African American culture. In his last years Cornelius dealt with personal issues and serious health ailments. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Bio by: C.S.


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Dear Jayne
  • Added: 1 Feb 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 84308646
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Don Cornelius (27 Sep 1936–1 Feb 2012), Find A Grave Memorial no. 84308646, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.