The Associated Press reports that Don Cornelius, the founder of the dance show “Soul Train” was found dead on Wednesday morning. After hearing gun shots a person called the police from Mr. Cornelius’s house on Mulholland Drive in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood. Police officers believe the 75-year-old actor put an end to his life.
The 911 call was registered at 4 a.m. on Wednesday. When police officers arrived at Mr. Cornelius’ house they found him lying lifeless on the floor. The victim presented a gunshot wound to the head and, according to the Los Angeles County assistant chief coroner, Ed Winter, it was self-inflicted.
Winter further told reporters that doctors transported Don Cornelius to the Cedar-Sinai Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 4:56 a.m. Doctors were able to confirm that it was a suicide and the wound was self-inflicted.
“Soul Train” was one of the most important shows in the history of America. The program helped disseminate many African-American songs around the world because if offered exposure to musicians like James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson throughout the 1970s and the 1980s.
Quincy Jones was among the first celebrities to release an interview for the Associated Press. He stated that he was deeply saddened by the death of his colleague and friend. Jones further declared that Cornelius had a significant role in the entertainment business by creating “Soul Train” which lies at the foundations of all music channels. “Before MTV, there was “Soul Train,” he concluded.
“Soul Train” first aired in 1970 in Chicago on WCIU-TV. Since its very first year, producers realized that it was going to be a hit, so they broadcast it nationally in 1971. The show lasted for 35 years due to its talented performers and dancers. It is believed that “Soul Train” inspired dance programs like Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” and MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew”.
Nobody knows what made Don Cornelius commit suicide. In fact, he declared in 2010 that he was taking part in a new project, a biographical movie which included the making of the show. Police will continue to investigate the case.