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Della Reese

Della Reese, who for the past five years has been the recipient of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Television Drama Series for her role as Tess, the tough yet loving supervising angel in TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL, began singing in church in her native Detroit when she was 6 years old. As a teenager, she toured with gospel great Mahalia Jackson and, at 18, formed the Meditation Singers, becoming the first performer to take gospel music to the casinos of Las Vegas.

Reese expanded her musical repertoire as a vocalist with the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra and began making her own records. Don't You Know and And That Reminds Me were two of her biggest hits in the 1950s. She appeared on television as a guest on many variety shows and logged more than 20 appearances in one year on The Ed Sullivan Show, on the CBS Television Network. She was nominated for a Grammy Award as Best Female Soloist in Gospel Music in 1987 and 1998.

Reese hosted a television talk show (1969-70) and has appeared in numerous television series such as Sanford and Son, The A-Team and, on CBS, Crazy Like a Fox and Picket Fences. She also starred in the CBS shows Charlie & Co. and The Royal Family. Reese's additional television credits include starring roles in the films The Secret Path and Emma's Wish and the mini-series Mama Flora's Family, all on CBS. She was recently heard as the voice of Eema, one of the lead characters, in the Disney animated feature Dinosaur. She has recorded an album based on her 27-city tour with her revue, Some of My Best Friends Are the Blues, and published her autobiography, Angels Along the Way. Most recently, she has written a series of inspirational books, one for each month of the year, which include What Is This Thing Called Love? and Strength Is the Energy of God.

Reese lives in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, producer Franklin Thomas Lett. Her birthdate is July 6.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2000.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Della Reese Facts

Birth NameDelloreese Patricia Early
BirthdayJuly 6, 1931 (92)
BirthplaceDetroit, Michigan, USA

Selected Filmography

Hot Pursuit
Monsters vs. Aliens
Little Nicky
Sweet Home Alabama
The Eleventh Hour
How High
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