Cornelius Bet Your Last Money As Always In Parting, We Wish You

February 28, 2012 by staff 

Cornelius Bet Your Last Money As Always In Parting, We Wish You, “It was a sense of urgency.” Two days after Don Cornelius’ shocking suicide at age 75, his son Tony Cornelius talks for the first time about receiving a distressing phone call from his father just four hours before the latter was believed to have shot himself in the head.

Here’s what he had to say. “It was a call of urgency and I came to his home immediately,” the younger Cornelius told Gayle King on Thursday’s edition of CBS This Morning.

When asked if he’d been depressed about some things, Tony, who worked with his dad for more than 15 years on Soul Train, said Cornelius was “very unhappy about some things…and his health was failing.”

“My father was extremely private and unfortunately, when you’re a private person, you keep things inside,” Cornelius added.”It’s hard to imagine…how you feel. You have to be in a person’s shoes really to understand. Obviously, me being extremely close to him, I could tell that he was uncomfortable. But our family could never know that he would— how uncomfortable he really was.”

Reflecting on Don’s pioneering achievements with Soul Train—the nationally syndicated dance show he created that helped popularize Soul and R&B during an incredible run that lasted from 1970 to 2006—Tony recalled the Soul Man not only as the epitome of cool but as the consummate TV professional.

Said Cornelius: “He’s always taught me [that] it’s the fine points that count, and he wanted to achieve quality. He wanted to expose the masses to a new way of looking at black-oriented television. And he just worked really hard to make that happen.”

Tony added that despite the tragedy, he took comfort in the legacy his father left behind with Soul Train.

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