Delloreese Patricia Early known professionally as Della Reese, was an American jazz and gospel singer, actress, and ordained minister whose career spanned seven decades. Reese’s long career began as a singer, scoring a hit with her 1959 single “Don’t You Know?”. In the late–1960’s, Reese hosted her own talk show, Della, which ran for 197 episodes.
She also starred in films beginning in 1975, including 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 supernatural drama Touched by an Angel (1994–2003), in which Reese played the leading role of Tess.