Don Cornelius

American television show host (1936-2012)

Donald Cortez "Don" Cornelius (September 27, 1936 – February 1, 2012) was an American television host and television producer. He was known for creating the music franchise series Soul Train.

Don Cornelius
Don Cornelius at the 40th anniversary event for Soul Train.
Donald Cortez Cornelius

(1936-09-27)September 27, 1936
DiedFebruary 1, 2012(2012-02-01) (aged 75)
Cause of deathSuicide by gunshot
Body discoveredLos Angeles, California, U.S.
EducationDuSable High School
Occupation(s)Television host, producer
Years active1966–2011
Known forCreator of Soul Train
WVON home station
Spouse(s)Delores Harrison (1956 – ?) 2 children
Viktoria Chapman (also known as Viktoria Avila-Cornelius; December 2001 – ?) (divorced)
ChildrenAnthony and Raymond (first marriage)

Cornelius was born in Chicago, Illinois. He was married to Delores Harrison until they divorced. He was later married to Viktoria Chapman from 2001 until they divorced. Cornelius committed suicide on February 1, 2012 in Sherman Oaks, California after shooting himself with a gun.[1]


  1. McKinley Jr., James C. (February 1, 2012). "Don Cornelius, ‘Soul Train’ Creator, Is Dead". The New York Times.