Della Reese Biography (1931-)

Full name, Deloreese Patricia Early; given name is sometimes spelled "Delareese," "Dellareese," or "Delloreese"; born July 6, 1931, in Detroit, MI; daughter of Richard Thaddeus (a steelworker) and Nellie (a cook; maiden name, Mitchelle) Early; married Vermont Adolphus Bond Taliaferro (a factory worker), 1951 (divorced, c. 1953); married Leroy Basil Gray (an accountant; marriage annulled); married Mercer Ellington, c. 1961 (marriage annulled); married Franklin Thomas Lett, Jr. (a producer), January 12, 1983; children: (adopted) Deloreese Daniels, James Barger; (stepchildren) Franklin Thomas III, Dominique. Addresses: Office: c/o Touched by an Angel, CBS MTM Studios, 4024Radford Ave., Studio City, CA 91604.; Agent: William Morris Agency, 151 El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212.; Publicist: Pinnacle Public Relations, 8265 Sunset Blvd., Suite 201, Los Angeles, CA 90046.

Nationality
American
Gender
Female
Occupation
Actress, singer, writer
Birth Details
July 6, 1931
Detroit, Michigan, United States

Famous Works

  • CREDITS
  • Television Appearances
  • Series
  • Host, Della (also known as The Della Reese Show), 1969-1970
  • Della Rogers, Chico and the Man, NBC, 1976-1978
  • Judge Caroline Phillips, It Takes Two, NBC, 1982-1983
  • Aunt Rachel, Charlie & Co., 1986
  • Victoria Royal, The Royal Family, CBS, 1991-1992
  • Tess, Touched by an Angel, CBS, 1994-
  • Miniseries
  • Mrs. Lydia Branch, Roots: The Next Generation, ABC, 1979
  • Nana Fleming, Mama Flora's Family, CBS, 1998
  • Movies
  • Opal Parker, The Voyage of the Yes, CBS, 1973
  • Flo, Twice in a Lifetime, NBC, 1974
  • Claudine, The Return of Joe Forrester (also known as Cop on theBeat; some sources cite as an episode of the series Police Story), NBC, 1975
  • Sarah, Nightmare in Badham County (also known as Nightmare), ABC, 1976
  • Alicia Slater, The Kid Who Loved Christmas, 1990
  • Voice of Ella DuChammps, "You Must Remember This," Wonderworks, PBS, 1992
  • Katie Beale, A Match Made in Heaven, CBS, 1997
  • Lilly Cooper, Miracle in the Woods, CBS, 1997
  • Mona Washburn, Emma's Wish, CBS, 1998
  • Martha Logan, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years(also known as Having Our Say), CBS, 1999
  • Honey, The Secret Path (also known as The Silent Path), CBS, 1999
  • Anya Herpick, Anya's Bell, CBS, 1999
  • Title role, The Moving of Sophia Myles, CBS, 2000
  • Specials
  • Burt and the Girls, NBC, 1973
  • Aunt Faith, The Gift of Amazing Grace, ABC, 1986
  • Tennessee Ernie Ford: 50 Golden Years, The Nashville Network, 1990
  • Celebrate the Soul of American Music, syndicated, 1991
  • Holiday Greetings from the Ed Sullivan Show, CBS, 1992
  • The 61st Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade, syndicated, 1992
  • Interviewee, Mo' Funny: Black Comedy in America, HBO, 1993
  • Addicted to Fame, NBC, 1993
  • An All-American Thanksgiving Day Parade, CBS, 1996
  • Interviewee, The Life and Times of Tennessee Ernie Ford, The Nashville Network, 1996
  • Ladies' Home Journal Most Fascinating Women of '97, CBS, 1997
  • Guest host, CBS: The First 50 Years, CBS, 1998
  • Host, True Stories from Touched by an Angel, CBS, 1998
  • Interviewee, Intimate Portrait: Della Reese, Lifetime, 1999
  • Interviewee, Intimate Portrait: Olympia Dukakis, Lifetime, 1999
  • Host, More True Stories from Touched by an Angel, CBS, 1999
  • (Uncredited) Interviewee, Redd Foxx: The E! True Hollywood Story,E! Entertainment Television, 1999
  • Host, The Blues--in Performance at the White House, PBS, 1999
  • Interviewee, "Redd Foxx: Say It Like It Is," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 2000
  • Host, Miracles Cures, PAX, 2000
  • Interviewee, Intimate Portrait: Roma Downey, Lifetime, 2001
  • The 5th Annual Sears Soul Train Christmas Starfest, The WB, 2002
  • Pilots
  • Diane, Daddy's Girl, CBS, 1973
  • Flo, Flo's Place, NBC, 1976
  • Episodic
  • The Ed Sullivan Show, multiple appearances, between 1957 and 1964
  • American Bandstand, 1960
  • Herself, "Show G," The Lively Ones, 1963
  • Guest, The Hollywood Palace, 1964
  • Guest panelist, The Hollywood Squares, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973
  • Rose, "Find Tara Chapman!," The Mod Squad, 1968
  • "Killer on the Loose," The Bold Ones: The New Doctors, 1970
  • Guest, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, multiple appearances, between 1970 and 1977
  • "Singing the Blues," Getting Together, 1971
  • Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, 1972
  • Panelist, Match Game 73, 1973
  • Tina Thompson, "Requiem for Bored Wives," Police Woman, 1974
  • The judge, "The Juror," Chico and the Man, NBC, 1975
  • "Once upon a Victim," Petrocelli, 1975
  • Landers, "Ladies Day" (also known as "Ladies Kill, Too"), The Rookies, 1975
  • Herself, "Della, Della, Della," Sanford and Son, 1975
  • "The Day New York Turned Blue," McCloud, 1976
  • "Major Annie, M.D.," Medical Center, 1976
  • Ernie, "Lost Women," Vega$, 1978
  • Jean Tremaine, "The Gang Show," Welcome Back, Kotter, ABC, 1979
  • Millie Washington, "The Musical/My Ex-Mom/The Show Must Go On/The Pest/MyAunt, the Worrier: Parts 1 & 2," The Love Boat, 1982
  • (Uncredited) Mrs. Baracus (Momma Baracus), "Lease with an Option to Die,"The A-Team, NBC, 1985
  • Mrs. Flood, "Fox Hunt," Crazy Like a Fox, 1985
  • Mrs. Flood, "Is There a Fox in the House?," Crazy Like a Fox, 1985
  • Mrs. Flood, "A Fox at the Races," Crazy Like a Fox, 1986
  • Rita Clark, "Far from the Tree," 227, 1987
  • Grace, "Where Do We Go from Here?," 227, 1990
  • Stagecoach Sally, "Born to Hang," The Young Riders, 1990
  • Aunt Ruth, "Auntie Maim," Night Court, NBC, 1990
  • Ma Colton, "Squeeze Play," MacGyver, ABC, 1990
  • Ma Colton, "The Coltons," MacGyver, ABC, 1991
  • "Dance Ten, Friends Zero," Married People, 1991
  • Nurse, "No Deposit, No Return," Dream On, HBO, 1992
  • Mrs. Toussant, "Wedding Redux," Designing Women, CBS, 1992
  • Lucille Lake, "Vindaloo in the Villows," L.A. Law, NBC, 1992
  • Naomi Grand, "The Lullaby League," Picket Fences, CBS, 1992
  • Voice of the Blues Fairy, "Pinocchio," Happily Ever After: Fairy Talesfor Every Child (animated), HBO, 1995
  • Tess, "The Motel," Promised Land, CBS, 1996
  • Tess, "Homecoming," Promised Land, CBS, 1996
  • Tess, "The Road Home: Part 2," Promised Land, CBS, 1997
  • Tess, "Amazing Grace: Part 2," Promised Land, CBS, 1997
  • Herself, Entertainment Tonight, syndicated, 1998
  • Tess, "Mirror Image," Promised Land, CBS, 1998
  • Tess, "Vengeance Is Mine: Part 2," Promised Land, CBS, 1998
  • Herself, Praise the Lord, TBN, 2002
  • Guest panelist for The Celebrity Game and To Tell the Truth; also appeared in Hype, The WB, and The Music Scene; appearedas a guest on more than 300 other talk and entertainment shows.
  • Awards Presentations
  • The 27th Annual NAACP Image Awards, Fox, 1996
  • Presenter, 28th NAACP Image Awards, Fox, 1997
  • Presenter, The 49th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, CBS, 1997
  • Presenter, The 29th Annual NAACP Image Awards, Fox, 1998
  • The 31st Annual NAACP Image Awards, Fox, 2000
  • The 2nd Annual Family Television Awards, CBS, 2000
  • Television Work
  • Series
  • Additional voices, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo (animated), 1988-1991
  • Film Appearances
  • Herself, Let's Rock (also known as Keep It Cool), 1958
  • Mrs. Gibson, Psychic Killer (also known as The Kirlian Effect and The Kirlian Force), Avco Embassy, 1975
  • Vera, Harlem Nights, Paramount, 1989
  • (Uncredited) Elevator operator, The Distinguished Gentleman, 1992
  • Ma Wright, A Thin Line between Love and Hate, New Line Cinema, 1996
  • Narrator, Journey to a Hate Free Millennium (documentary; also known as Journey to a Hate Free Millennium: Stories of Hope and Compassion), New Light Media, 1999
  • Voice of Eema, Dinosaur (animated), Buena Vista, 2000
  • Stage Appearances
  • Black Sally, The Last Minstrel Show, Wilbur Theatre, Boston, MA, then New Locust Theatre, Philadelphia, PA, 1978
  • Reverend Della, The Message Is in the Music, Stage 52 Playhouse, Los Angeles, 2002
  • Also appeared in productions of Ain't Misbehavin', Blues in theNight, and Same Time Next Year.
  • Major Tours
  • Some of My Best Friends Are the Blues (revue), beginning 1992
  • Stage Director
  • The Message Is in the Music, Stage 52 Playhouse, Los Angeles, 2002
  • Radio Appearances
  • Appeared on many radio programs, including a series hosted by Robert Q. Lewis.
  • RECORDINGS
  • Albums
  • Melancholy Baby, Jubilee, 1957
  • A Date with Della--at Mr. Kelly's, Jubilee, 1958
  • Amen, Jubilee, 1958
  • The Story of the Blues, Jubilee, 1958
  • What Do You Know about Love?, Jubilee, 1959
  • And That Reminds Me, Jubilee, 1959
  • Della, RCA, 1959
  • Della by Starlight, RCA Victor, 1960
  • Della Della Cha-Cha-Cha, RCA Victor, 1961
  • Special Delivery, RCA, 1961
  • Classic Della, RCA Victor, 1961
  • Della on Stage, RCA Victor, 1962
  • 1962 Live Guard Session & at Basin St. East, Jazz Band, 1962
  • Waltz with Me, RCA Victor, 1963
  • Three Great Girls, RCA Victor, 1963
  • Della Reese at Basin Street East, RCA Victor, 1964
  • C'mon and Hear, Paramount, 1964
  • I Like It Like Dat!, Paramount, 1965
  • Moody, RCA Victor, 1965
  • Della Reese Live, Paramount, 1966
  • One More Time, Paramount, 1967
  • On Strings of Blue, ABC-Paramount, 1967
  • The Best of Della Reese, RCA Victor, 1972
  • Let Me in Your Life, Lee Magid, 1972
  • Della Reese, ABC-Paramount, 1976
  • One of a Kind, Jazz a la Carte, 1978
  • Hush, Somebody's Callin' My Name, CUT, 1979
  • Sure Like Lovin' You, Applause, 1983
  • And Brilliance, Atlanta Intern, 1990
  • Della, RCA Camden, 1996
  • And That Reminds Me: The Jubilee Years, Rhino/Collecto, 1996
  • Best Thing for You, Jasmine, 1997
  • Angel Singers, Amherst, 1997
  • The Collection, Varese, 1998
  • My Soul Feels Better Right Now, Homeland, 1998
  • Something Cool/Bad Bobby, Allegiance, 1998
  • The Jubilee Years: The Singles 1954-59, West Side, 1998
  • Story of the Blues/Della at Mr. Kelly's, West Side, 1998
  • Other albums include Black Is Beautiful, Avco Embassy. Singles include "In the Still of the Night," Jubilee, 1954; "I've Got My Love to Keep MeWarm," Jubilee, c. 1955; "Time after Time," Jubilee, c. 1955; "One More Time," ABC-Paramount, 1956; "And That Reminds Me," 1957; and "Don't You Know," RCA Victor, 1959; and "You Gave Me Love."
  • Videos
  • (Contributor) Guide to Healthy Living, Ebony/National Medical Association, 1998
  • WRITINGS
  • Books
  • (With Franklin Lett and Mim Eichler) Along the Way: My Life with Helpfrom Above (autobiography), Putnam (New York City), 1997
  • God inside of Me, Jump at the Sun, Hyperion Books for Children (New York City), 1999
  • For Stage
  • The Message Is in the Music, Stage 52 Playhouse, Los Angeles, 2002
  • Television Episodes
  • Writer and composer, Touched by an Angel, CBS, 2000

Further Reference

OTHER SOURCES

    Books
    • Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 20, Gale, 1999
    • Contemporary Musicians, Volume 13, Gale, 1995
    • Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Culture, Volume 5: African-American Culture, Gale, 1996
    • In Black and White, 3rd edition, Gale, 1980
    • Newsmakers 1999, Issue 2, Gale, 1999
    • Notable Black American Women, Book 2, Gale, 1996
    • Reese, Della, Franklin Lett, and Mim Eichler, Along the Way: My Life with Help from Above, Putnam (New York City), 1997
    Periodicals
    • America, May 31, 1997
    • Broadcasting & Cable, October 13, 1997
    • Ebony, May, 1989, p. 96
    • Good Housekeeping, April, 1997
    • Jet, March 10, 1997; November 24, 1997, p. 38; July 6, 1998
    • Parade, December 17, 2000, pp. 4-6
    • People Weekly, February 24, 1997, p. 113
    • Reader's Digest, December, 2002, p. 58
    • Saturday Evening Post, May-June, 1997, pp. 36-40
    • Time, October 20, 1997
    • TV Guide, September 25, 1999, pp. 34-36
    Other
    • Intimate Portrait: Della Reese (television special), Lifetime, 1999

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