On this day, July 6, 1931, American nightclub, jazz, gospel and pop singer, film and television actress, one-time talk-show hostess and ordained minister, Della Reese (born Delloreese Patricia Early) was born in the historic Black Bottom neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan.
With a career spanning six decades, she began as a singer, scoring a hit with her 1959 single “Don’t You Know?”.
In the late 1960s, she hosted her own talk show, Della, which ran for 197 episodes. She also starred in films beginning in 1975, and included playing opposite Redd Foxx in Harlem Nights (1989), Martin Lawrence in A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996) and Elliott Gould in Expecting Mary (2010).
She achieved continuing success in the television religious fantasy drama Touched by an Angel (1994–2003), in which Reese played the leading role of Tess.