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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Remembering Della Reese 1931 - 2017

Singer and actress Della Reese, who died Sunday at age 86, received two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama for her role as Tess in the 1994-2003 CBS series, Touched by an Angel. Her other television credits include the NBC sitcom, Chico and the Man (1975-78) as landlady Della Rogers and two CBS sitcoms - Charlie & Co. (1986) as Flip Wilson's sister-in-law and The Royal Family (1991-92) as Redd Foxx's wife. She also appeared in some feature films, including Let's Rock (1958), Psychic Killer (1975), Harlem Nights (1989), A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996), Beauty Shop (2005) and Expecting Mary (2010).

As a singer, Reese received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Vocalist for her 1959 hit, "Don't You Know?" This led to her performing in Las Vegas for nine years. She was also the first black woman to host her own syndicated talk show, Della! (1969-70), and she became the first black woman to guest host The Tonight Show in 1970. In the 1980s, Reese became an ordained minister, and she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994.

Below I've selected some videos to celebrate Della Reese's life and career.

She performed "Lonelyville" (as herself) in the 1958 film, Let's Rock.

She performed "Someday (You'll Want Me to Want You)" on CBC Canada in 1960.

She performed "If I Never Get To Heaven" in 1966.

She performed "MacArthur Park" and "Wedding Bell Blues" on ABC's The Music Scene on November 3, 1969.

She was a guest on the syndicated series, Half the George Kirby Comedy Hour, on September 28, 1972.

She played herself on NBC's Sanford and Son on October 31, 1975.

She performed "Blue Skies" in 1985.

She played brothel madam Vera in the 1989 film, Harlem Nights, starring Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor.

She performed on the 1991 Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon.

She and Redd Foxx starred together in the 1991-92 CBS sitcom, The Royal Family.

She was a guest on the syndicated talk show, Donny & Marie, on July 7, 1999.

She played Mrs. Towner in the 2005 comedy, Beauty Shop, starring Queen Latifah and Alicia Silverstone.

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