Della Reese

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Telly Nation

Also In People Profiles

We take an indepth look at a lady with a long and varied television career.

You might not have heard of Della Reese.† If you havenít, I can almost guarantee by the end of this article that youíll be wondering why you havenít. This article aims to be a brief overview of her career in television and music.

Deloreese Patricia Early was born in Detroit in 1932 and started singing in her local church aged six. She clearly showed talent from an early age as she was touring with the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson by the age of 13 and had even formed her own group called the “Meditation Singers” by 18. She expanded her repertoire with the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra and in 1953 managed to secure a recording contract .
In 1959 she secured a new recording contract with RCA and had her biggest hit entitled “Donít You Know”.† Dellaís influence was such,that she inadvertently helped to name Martha Reeve and the Vandellas.† The story goes that the name was taken from Detroit street Van Dyke and Reeve's favorite singer Della Reese.
During the late 1950ís and early 1960ís Dellaís career opened up and she† became a regular face on American TV.† She appeared on The Perry Como Show, The Jackie Gleason Show and racked up over twenty appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show.† After becoming the first female to host the Tonight Show she managed to secure her own television talk show which ran from 1969 to 1970 and was simply called Della.† She was in fact the first black woman to host her own television show. She also continued to release records, enjoying hits with revivals of "Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You)" (1960) from 1946 and the 20s standard "Bill Bailey" (1961).
Della then became a regular on television screens making guest appearances on Sanford and Son, The A-Team, Crazy Like a Fox, Young Riders, McGyver, L.A Law and Picket Fences. She starred in the CBS Network series Charlie & Co. and The Royal Family.† She can also be seen in the film Harlem Nights acting opposite Eddie Murphy.† She is perhaps best known for her role in the long running series Touched By An Angel† where she played Tess the angel supervisor. She has received both Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominations for her work on the series.
Dellaís television work was honoured in 1994 when she got her own star on the Hollywood walk of fame.
As though Dellaís acting and recording work were not enough to keep her busy, she also found the time to write an autobiography “Angels along the Way”, a book “The God inside of Me” and to become ordained as a minister.† She can be found every Sunday preaching “Life Lessons” at her non-denominational church in Los Angeles (More information at
After being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes this amazing lady didnít let it get her down, instead she founded a website with GlaxoSmithKline to help other sufferers.† You can find that at and you can visit her main site at
A list of her film and TV credits would be as long as your arm, and ditto with her recording career.† However if you click here† you can get an idea of a long and varied career.

Page Last Updated Saturday, February 12, 2005 at 18:19:31