(Don Cornelius plays 1-on-1 basketball with Marvin Gaye)
By Sowmya Krishnamurthy
“Soul Train” creator Don Cornelius was cremated in a private funeral service attended by family and friends in Los Angeles on Thursday (February 9). Officiated by The Reverend Jesse Jackson, the service was held at the same cemetery where other celebrities like Michael Jackson are interred. According to Cornelius’ son Tony, “The Rev. Jackson and my father were very, very close friends and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” as reported by the Associated Press.
Other memorials have taken place around the country. More than 200 fans and friends packed the Radio Hall of Fame Gallery at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Cornelius’ hometown of Chicago on Wednesday (February 8 ) to commemorate the host. Speakers included Cornelius’ old radio contemporaries like Herb “the Kool Gent” Kent, Richard Steele and Marv Dyson as well as The Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Cornelius killed himself with a self-inflicted gunshot wound on February 1st. He was 75 years old.
The host of the “hippest trip in America,” “Soul Train” was a popular dance/music TV show which spotlighted soul, R&B, and hip-hop. James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson all appeared on the show as well as contemporary acts like Chris Brown and Alicia Keys. Cornelius would go on to host the show for 22 years, between 1971 and 1993. He eventually handed over the reins to new hosts and the show ultimately went off the air in 2006. The show is still considered the “longest running first-run, nationally syndicated program in television history,” with over 1,100 episodes.