Della Reese biography
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. Reese guest-starred on many other shows into the 1980s, 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 TV's Touched by An Angel.
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 her family's church at the age of 6. Her talents landed her to tour with gospel great Mahalia Jackson when Reese was only a teenager.
By the age of 18, Reese had formed the Meditation Singers, known for being the first group to take gospel music to the night clubs of Las Vegas, Nevada. Reese began making records with the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra in the 1950s, producing such hits as "Don't You Know" and "That Reminds Me." She also began performing on television variety shows and was a regular guest on The Ed Sullivan Show.
In 1969, Reese began hosting a TV talk/variety show called Della—becoming the first black woman to host her own variety show. The show was canceled in 1970, after 197 episodes. That same year, she became the first woman to serve as guest host of The Tonight Show.
Della Reese guest-starred on many TV series into the 1980s, including Sanford and Son, Crazy Like a Fox and Picket Fences. In 1987, she was nominated for a Gospel Music Grammy Award for best female soloist. In the late 1990s, Reese landed a starring role on the popular TV show Touched by An Angel alongside Roma Downey and John Dye, while continuing her music career.