“Della Reese, the husky-voiced singer and actress who spent almost a decade playing a down-to-earth heavenly messenger on the CBS series ‘Touched by an Angel’ and became an ordained minister in real life, died on Sunday night at her home in California,” The New York Times reports.
No cause of death was provided. Reese was 86.
“Ms. Reese had been under contract to Jubilee Records for three years when, in 1957, she had her first big hit record, the romantic ballad ‘And That Reminds Me,'” The Times reports. “Named the year’s most promising ‘girl singer’ by Billboard, Variety and Cash Box, she was soon making regular appearances on the leading television variety shows of the day. Her biggest hit was ‘Don’t You Know’ — adapted from ‘Musetta’s Waltz,’ an aria from ‘La Boheme’ — which reached No.2 on the Billboard singles chart in 1959.”
Reese received two Primetime Emmy nominations, in 1997 and 1998, along with a Golden Globe nomination in 1998, for her performance as Tess on “Touched by an Angel.” The role also earned her seven consecutive Image Awards from 1996-2002.
Here’s a clip from “Touched by an Angel” in which Reese appears along with Muhammad Ali …