Della Reese enjoyed a career that spanned the 1950s and well into the 2000s, covering over 60 decades in a variety of roles, including some legendary lines in the classic film Harlem Nights. After a long illness, Reese passed peacefully in her California home Sunday night (Nov. 19) as the entertainment industry remembers her many contributions.
Della Reese, who segued from pop and jazz singing stardom in the ‘50s and ‘60s to a long career as a popular TV actress on “Touched by an Angel” and other shows, died Sunday night at her home in California. She was 86.
“She was an incredible wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and pastor, as well as an award-winning actress and singer. Through her life and work she touched and inspired the lives of millions of people,” actress Roma Downey, Reese’s co-star on “Touched By an Angel,” said in a statement announcing Reese’s death. “She was a mother to me and I had the privilege of working with her side by side for so many years on ‘Touched by an Angel.’ I know heaven has a brand new angel this day. Della Reese will be forever in our hearts.”
Reese was nominated for several awards for her role in Touched By An Angel, including the Emmys, Golden Globes, and SAG awards. As a singer, she was nominated three times for a Grammy Award. From 1996 to 2002, Reese won the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series NAACP Image Awards trophy.