Don Cornelius Net Worth 2021: Wiki Biography, Married, Family, Measurements, Height, Salary, Relationships

Don Cornelius net worth is
$15 Million

Don Cornelius Wiki Biography

Donald Cortez Cornelius was born on 27 September 1936, in Chicago, Illinois USA, and was an actor, television producer, TV personality and a screenwriter, perhaps best known for hosting “Soul Train” on WCIU-TV for more than 20 years. Regretfully, Don took his own life on 1 February 2012.

So just how rich was Don Cornelius? Don’s net worth is estimated to be $15 million, accumulated mostly from his many appearances on radio and television as a host and broadcaster during a career in the entertainment industry spanning more than 40 years.

Don Cornelius Net Worth $15 Million

Don Cornelius graduated from DuSable High School in 1954, and the same year joined the United States Marine Corps, serving 18 months in Korea. Before he became a widely recognized TV personality, Don Cornelius took up a variety of jobs, such as selling cars and tires, working at an insurance company, and later joining the Chicago Police Department. In 1966, despite having only $400 in his bank account, Cornelius attended a three-month broadcasting course, and the same year landed a job as an announcer, disc jockey and news reporter on Chicago radio station WVON (“The Voice of A Nation”). From that moment forward, Don Cornelius’ salary, as well as net worth began increasing substantially.

In 1967, Cornelius joined WCIU-TV station, where he hosted the news program “A Black’s View of the News”, but it wasn’t until 1970, with the launch of the dance and music franchise “Soul Train”, that Don Cornelius became a recognized face in the industry. “Soul Train”, an American musical television program, became an outlet for many talented Afro-American stars, musicians and dancers to express themselves in a way and manner they loved. The show offered a wide exposure to such musicians as James Brown, Aretha Franklin, and Michael Jackson. Described by Spike Lee as an “urban music time capsule”, “Soul Train” became an immediate success with a large audience across the United States, and significantly contributed to Don Cornelius’ net worth. The fame of “Soul Train” soon resulted in the “Soul Train Music Awards”, which is an annual show dedicated to honor the best black artists, musicians, actors etc. The first award was presented in 1987, and the annual tradition has been continued to the present day.

However, although legendary and of comfortable means, Don Cornelius led a somewhat controversial life. In 2008, Cornelius was arrested at his Los Angeles home on a felony domestic violence charge. Even though he was released on bail, Cornelius was charged with spousal abuse. In addition, his wife Viktoria Chapman filed two restraining orders against him. Don Cornelius’ life was cut short in 2012, when police officers found Cornelius with a self-inflicted gunshot head wound. It was later revealed by former “Soul Train” host Shemar Moore that Cornelius might have been suffering from either dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. An autopsy affirmed that Cornelius had also been experiencing seizures during the last 15 years of his life, as an eventual result of unsuccessful brain surgery he underwent in 1982. Don Cornelius’ slowly deteriorating health was one of the main reasons he decided to retire from hosting “Soul Train” in 1993, and no doubt depressed him over subsequent years until his untimely death.

In his personal life, Don Cornelius married Dolores Harrison in 1956, and had two sons with her before divorcing. He married Viktoria Chapman (aka Victoria Avila-Cornelius) in 2001, and they divorced in 2009.



  • Structural Info
  • Trademarks
  • Quotes
  • Facts
  • Pictures
  • Filmography
  • Awards
Full Name Don Cornelius
Net Worth $15 Million
Date Of Birth September 27, 1936, Chicago, Illinois, United States)
Died February 1, 2012, Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California, United States
Place Of Birth Chicago
Profession Television producer, TV Personality, Screenwriter, Actor, Television presenter, Announcer, Disc jockey
Education DuSable High School
Nationality United States of America
Spouse Victoria Cornelius (m. 2001–2009)
Children Anthony Cornelius, Raymond Cornelius
Nicknames Donald Cortez Cornelius , Donald Cortez “Don” Cornelius
IMDB http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004843
Awards Grammy Trustees Award, TV Land Pop Culture Award
Movies Jackie’s Back, Mafia!, Tapeheads, Roadie
TV Shows Soul Train
# Trademark
1 Deep baritone voice
2 Shouted the name of the TV show in nearly every theme song.
3 Closed the show with the catchphrase – “We Wish You Love, Peace & Soul!”
4 Old Fashioned Round Spectacles
# Quote
1 [Who toyed with the idea of a Soul Train channel]: We came to the conclusion that we came along a little late to make it happen. There’s also the problem of whether or not I had the energy to start something of that magnitude from scratch.
2 [Who remained grateful to the musicians who made Soul Train (1971), a pop culture African-American show]: The show remains vibrant because the songs are. I figured as long as the music stayed hot and important and good, that there would always be a reason for ‘Soul Train.’
3 [When he went to divorce court]: I am 72 years old. I have significant health issues. I want to finalize this divorce before I die.
4 [on the death of Barry White in 2003]: There was no match for Barry White. His music is just going to live forever. It’s not limited to disco or soul or hip-hop or anything.
5 [on selling Soul Train (1971) in 2008]: The Soul Train legacy and brand are of the utmost importance to me and to Soul Train’s millions of fans. After years of offers, I feel the time is now finally right to pass the torch. The MadVision team understands and respects my vision, and they share my own commitment to seeing the brand rise to the next level.
6 [on Soul Train (1971)’s success]: We just seem to be surrounded on this anniversary show by all of our personal favorites. I have to say that in the first person, because they’re my personal favorites.
7 [About the dancers who care about the music he recorded on Soul Train (1971)]: I figured as long as the music stayed hot and important and good, that there would always be a reason for ‘Soul Train.’
8 It’s always a pleasure to find something that matters.
9 We can’t make it important to anybody else. Some of the audience we serve doesn’t really care about what you did yesterday and you have to be cognizant of that … But it’s important to us.
# Fact
1 He was known to be a very private man.
2 Was a close personal friend of Rev. Al Sharpton for over 35 years, since Sharpton was a teenager. Sharpton was a guest on Soul Train (1971).
3 Upon his death, he was cremated and his ashes were given to his family.
4 Longtime friend of Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin.
5 Mentor and friend of Shemar Moore.
6 Cornelius retired from hosting Soul Train (1971), at the end of the 22nd season, due to health problems.
7 His show Soul Train (1971) was named after a promotional event he put together in 1969.
8 Was honored at the Chicago Cultural Center by Bruce Dumont in 1998.
9 Was inducted posthumously into the Illinois Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2012.
10 Gladys Knight was his very first guest on Soul Train (1971).
11 During his last years, he suffered seizures.
12 Best remembered by the public as the host of Soul Train (1971).
13 Before he was a successful television host, he joined Chicago’s television station WCIU-TV in 1967, and hosted a news program called, ‘A Black’s View of the News.’.
14 Father of Tony Cornelius.
15 Grandfather of Christina Marie.
16 Passed away on the same day as David Peaston who gave one of his first professional performances on national television courtesy of Soul Train (1971).
17 Had a brain tumor and underwent successful surgery in 1982.
18 Hosted Soul Train (1971) for 22 of the show’s 35 years. In that time, he introduced many unfamiliar artists to a larger audience who would go on to become even more successful, among them are: Gladys Knight (his first guest), Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Barry White, Melba Moore, Al Green, Donna Summer and Mariah Carey.
19 Used $400 of his money to produced and create Soul Train (1971), which was an African-American dance program.
20 Before he was a television host, he did everything from announcer to news reporter to disc jockey.
21 He joined the United States Marine Corps and served 18 months in Korea.
22 Long before Jody Watley became one of the members of the group Shalamar, and a successful solo artist, she used to guest-star on his show as one of the dancers, as a teenager.
23 Went to the same high school as Eddie Harris, Joseph Jerman, Julien Priester and Ronnie Boykins.
24 One-time guest on Soul Train (1971), Arsenio Hall was said to be a teenage television hero of Cornelius’.
25 Graduated from DuSable High School in Chicago, Illinois, in 1954.
26 Before he was a television host, he was once a salesman in Chicago.
27 His show Soul Train (1971) was inspired by New American Bandstand 1965 (1952), a show that featured a variety of bands that was hosted by Dick Clark.
28 He once danced with Mary Wilson on the Soul Train (1971) line, throughout the show’s 35-year-run.
29 Lived not too far from Demi Moore.
30 Sentenced to three years of probation after pleading no contest to misdemeanor spousal battery [March 21, 2009].
31 Began and hosted his show, Soul Train (1971), now in its 34th year, on October 2, 1971. It is the longest-running first-run syndicated show in the history of television. His son, Tony Cornelius, who was formerly married to actress Amy Hunter, is the line producer of his show.
32 Discovered by WVON Radio personality Ed Cobb. In the mid-1960s, Cobb while driving ran a traffic violation and was pulled over by Chicago Police officer Don Cornelius. While officer Cornelius was asking him the typical traffic stop questions, Cobb noticed his unique speaking voice and told him that he was in the wrong profession. Cobb suggested that Cornelius come down to the radio station and make a demo tape. Don took him up on it and was hired as an announcer.
33 Ex-father-in-law of Amy Hunter.

Known for movies

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