Legendary actress and singer Della Reese dead at 86
Photo Credit: S & A

Legendary actress and singer Della Reese dead at 86

Actress and singer Della Reese has died at the age of 86.

Her costar Roma Downey confirmed the news to PEOPLE magazine: “On behalf of her husband, Franklin Lett, and all her friends and family, I share with you the news that our beloved Della Reese has passed away peacefully at her California home last evening surrounded by love. 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. 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. Rest In Peace, sweet angel. We love you.”

Reese is most known for her starring role as Tess in the long-running drama, Touched By An Angel, from 1994-2003.


She was discovered by iconic gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson, and later got a recording contract, releasing several hit songs throughout the ’60s and ’70s.

She then ventured in to TV and film. She had her own short-lived variety show, Della, and was the first black woman to co-host The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. 

She also starred in many things over the years such as the television series Chico and the Man and the films Harlem Nights and A Thin Line Between Love and Hate. 

After being plagued by health problems, she retired from acting in 2014.

She leaves behind children Deloreese, James, Franklin, and Dominique, as well as husband Franklin Lett.

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