In sad news, Della Reese has passed away at 86 years old, according to TMZ. She died Sunday night at her home in California. She battled diabetes for years. Della was also a successful gospel singer and ordained minister. She is best known for her roles in “Touched By an Angel” , “Angel” and “Harlem Nights”. She will be missed. Rest easy Della Reese.
Born Delloreese Patricia Early on July 6, 1931 in Detroit, Reese began singing at her local church at 6 years old. By 13 she was performing and touring with Gospel legend Mahalia Jackson’s gospel group. By the 1950’s Reese began recording Jazz albums and became a star.
In the 60’s started acting and would appear TV and movies. In 1970 Reese made history as she became the first black woman to co-host <em>The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.</em>
Reese became an ordained minister in the 1980s through the Christian New Thought branch known as Unity, leading her to found her own church, Understanding Principles for Better Living (also known as “UP Church”).
In 1994 Della Reese starred in one of her most famous roles, Tess on the CBS series <em>Touched By an Angel</em> beginning in 1994. The show was a hit and ran until 2003.
She leaves behind children Deloreese, James, Franklin, and Dominique, as well as husband Franklin Lett.
Reese was 86 years old.