Famed television host and producer, Don Cornelius, known best for creating the dance show Soul Train is dead at age 75. Cornelius is reported to have passed due to a self-inflicted gunshot at his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Cornelius began his career as a journalist and after the civil rights movement, he started Soul Train as a solution to the late 1960s lack of a venue for soul music on national television. His creation helped artists like James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson find larger audiences and Spike Lee was quoted as saying the series was “an urban music time capsule.” Cornelius’ signature timbre and catchphrase were longtime hallmarks of Soul Train, and at the end of every episode, he’d sign off with “And you can bet your last money, it’s gonna be a stone gas, honey! I’m Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you peace, love and soul.” The series eventually gave birth to the Soul Train Awards, and though it only plays in reruns now, its mark on entertainment is immeasurable.
Cornelius’ personal life was a little rocky, sustaining an arrest for domestic violence and later being hit with two restraining orders. He also claimed to have “health issues” during his divorce proceedings in 2009. However, his legacy will remain solidly in his contributions to the world of music.