Singer and actress Deloreese Patricia Early, better known as Della Reese, was born in Detroit, Michigan, on July 6, 1931. Reese began on the path that would lead her to show business by singing in church at the age of 6. Her talents eventually landed her an opportunity to work with gospel great Mahalia Jackson when Reese was only 13 years old.
Born in Michigan in 1931, Della Reese began making records and performing on television variety shows in the 1950s. From 1969 to 1970, she hosted a TV talk show called Della, and she went on to appear in many other series over the decades, including Sanford and Son and Picket Fences. In 1987, she was nominated for a gospel music Grammy Award (best female soloist), and in the 1990s she landed a starring role on the hit television drama Touched by an Angel.Reese went to Wayne State University in Detroit, where she majored in psychology. While in college, Reese formed the Meditation Singers, an all-female gospel group who would become known for being one of the first acts to take gospel music to the nightclubs of Las Vegas, Nevada. Unfortunately, a series of family tragedies put her studies and music on hold for a time. With her mother’s death and her father’s illness, Reese went to work to help her family financially. Reese died on November 19, 2017, at age 86.
Rest in Peace Dellas Reese!