Don Cornelius Net Worth

Don Cornelius Net Worth 2023: 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.

Full NameDon Cornelius
Net Worth$15 Million
Date Of BirthSeptember 27, 1936, Chicago, Illinois, United States)
DiedFebruary 1, 2012, Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California, United States
Place Of BirthChicago
ProfessionTelevision producer, TV Personality, Screenwriter, Actor, Television presenter, Announcer, Disc jockey
EducationDuSable High School
NationalityUnited States of America
SpouseVictoria Cornelius (m. 2001–2009)
ChildrenAnthony Cornelius, Raymond Cornelius
NicknamesDonald Cortez Cornelius , Donald Cortez "Don" Cornelius
AwardsGrammy Trustees Award, TV Land Pop Culture Award
MoviesJackie's Back, Mafia!, Tapeheads, Roadie
TV ShowsSoul Train
1Deep baritone voice
2Shouted the name of the TV show in nearly every theme song.
3Closed the show with the catchphrase - "We Wish You Love, Peace & Soul!"
4Old Fashioned Round Spectacles
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.'
8It's always a pleasure to find something that matters.
9We 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.
1He was known to be a very private man.
2Was 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).
3Upon his death, he was cremated and his ashes were given to his family.
4Longtime friend of Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin.
5Mentor and friend of Shemar Moore.
6Cornelius retired from hosting Soul Train (1971), at the end of the 22nd season, due to health problems.
7His show Soul Train (1971) was named after a promotional event he put together in 1969.
8Was honored at the Chicago Cultural Center by Bruce Dumont in 1998.
9Was inducted posthumously into the Illinois Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2012.
10Gladys Knight was his very first guest on Soul Train (1971).
11During his last years, he suffered seizures.
12Best remembered by the public as the host of Soul Train (1971).
13Before 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.'.
14Father of Tony Cornelius.
15Grandfather of Christina Marie.
16Passed away on the same day as David Peaston who gave one of his first professional performances on national television courtesy of Soul Train (1971).
17Had a brain tumor and underwent successful surgery in 1982.
18Hosted 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.
19Used $400 of his money to produced and create Soul Train (1971), which was an African-American dance program.
20Before he was a television host, he did everything from announcer to news reporter to disc jockey.
21He joined the United States Marine Corps and served 18 months in Korea.
22Long 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.
23Went to the same high school as Eddie Harris, Joseph Jerman, Julien Priester and Ronnie Boykins.
24One-time guest on Soul Train (1971), Arsenio Hall was said to be a teenage television hero of Cornelius'.
25Graduated from DuSable High School in Chicago, Illinois, in 1954.
26Before he was a television host, he was once a salesman in Chicago.
27His 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.
28He once danced with Mary Wilson on the Soul Train (1971) line, throughout the show's 35-year-run.
29Lived not too far from Demi Moore.
30Sentenced to three years of probation after pleading no contest to misdemeanor spousal battery [March 21, 2009].
31Began 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.
32Discovered 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.
33Ex-father-in-law of Amy Hunter.


The 10th Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards2005TV Special
The 8th Annual Soul Train Christmas Starfest2005TV Movie
Soul TrainTV Series documentary 7 episodes, 1993 - 2004 writer - 131 episodes, 1971 - 1980 written by - 4 episodes, 1974 - 1975
The 1998 Soul Train Christmas Starfest1998TV Movie


21st Annual Soul Train Music Awards2007TV Special executive producer
The 20th Annual Soul Train Music Awards2006TV Special executive producer
The 10th Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards2005TV Special executive producer / producer
The 8th Annual Soul Train Christmas Starfest2005TV Movie executive producer / producer
The 19th Annual Soul Train Music Awards2005TV Special executive producer
Soul TrainTV Series documentary executive producer - 45 episodes, 1971 - 2004 producer - 15 episodes, 1971 - 1979
The 18th Annual Soul Train Music Awards2004TV Special executive producer
The 17th Annual Soul Train Music Awards2003TV Special executive producer
The 16th Annual Soul Train Music Awards2002TV Special executive producer
The 15th Annual Soul Train Music Awards2001TV Special executive producer
The 1998 Soul Train Christmas Starfest1998TV Movie executive producer
The 9th Annual Soul Train Music Awards1995TV Special executive producer
The 8th Annual Soul Train Music Awards1994TV Special executive producer
Soul Train Comedy Awards1993TV Special executive producer
The 7th Annual Soul Train Music Awards1993TV Special executive producer
The 5th Annual Soul Train Music Awards1991TV Special executive producer
The 4th Annual Soul Train Music Awards1990TV Special executive producer
The 3rd Annual Soul Train Music Awards1989TV Special executive producer
The 2nd Annual Soul Train Music Awards1988TV Special executive producer
The 1st Annual Soul Train Music Awards1987TV Special executive producer


Jackie's Back!1999TV MovieDon Cornelius
Tapeheads1988Mo Fuzz
Roadie1980Mohammed Johnson
No Way Back1976


Soul Plane2004writer: "Soul Plane"
Nutty Professor II: The Klumps2000writer: "Soul Train Theme"


14th Annual Soul Train Music Awards2000TV Special

Casting Department

Soul Train2004TV Series documentary talent executive - 1 episode


The 64th Primetime Emmy Awards2012TV Special in memory of
The 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony2012TV Movie in memoriam
20th Annual Trumpet Awards2012TV Special in memory of
Acid Head: The Buzzard Nuts County Slaughter2011special thanks
VH1 Rock Docs2010TV Series very special thanks - 1 episode
Pacific Inferno1979special thanks


Unsung2012TV Series documentaryHimself
18th Annual Trumpet Awards2010TV SpecialHimself
VH1 Rock Docs2010TV SeriesHimself
BET Awards 20092009TV SpecialHimself
In the Cutz2006TV SeriesGuest
The 3rd Annual TV Land Awards2005TV SpecialHimself
The 47th Annual Grammy Awards2005TV SpecialHimself
The 17th Annual Soul Train Music Awards2003TV SpecialHimself
Journeys in Black2002TV Series documentaryHimself
Howard Stern1996-2001TV SeriesHimself
The 15th Annual Soul Train Music Awards2001TV SpecialHimself
The Howard Stern Radio Show1999TV SeriesHimself
Mafia!1998Himself (uncredited)
Motown 40: The Music Is Forever1998TV Movie documentaryHimself
Fired Up1997TV SeriesHimself
Record Row: Cradle of Rhythm and Blues1997TV Movie documentaryHimself
Soul Train's 25th Anniversary1995TV Movie documentaryHimself
The 9th Annual Soul Train Music Awards1995TV SpecialHimself
The 8th Annual Soul Train Music Awards1994TV SpecialHimself
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air1994TV SeriesHimself
Soul Train Comedy Awards1993TV SpecialHimself
Soul Train1971-1993TV Series documentaryHimself - Host
The Arsenio Hall Show1989-1990TV SeriesHimself
It's Garry Shandling's Show.1988TV SeriesHimself
Just Our Luck1983TV SeriesHimself
Cleopatra Jones1973Himself

Archive Footage

The Seventies2015TV Series documentaryHimself - Host
Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic2013DocumentaryHimself
Don Cornelius: Visionary, Trailblazer & Cultural Icon2012TV MovieHimself
2010 Soul Train Awards2010TV SpecialHimself
Unsung2010TV Series documentaryHimself

Won Awards

2005Pop Culture AwardTV Land AwardsSoul Train (1971)
1997Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameTelevisionOn 27 February 1997. At 7060 Hollywood Blvd.

Nominated Awards

1974Daytime EmmyDaytime Emmy AwardsBest Writing for a Talk, Service or Variety ProgramSoul Train (1971)

Known for movies

IMDB Wikipedia

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.