Della Reese (born Delloreese Patricia Early) was an American nightclub, jazz, gospel, and pop singer; film and television actress; one-time talk-show hostess; and ordained minister, whose career spanned six decades. She also appeared as a guest on several talk shows and as a panelist on numerous game shows.
Reese's long career 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, 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 fantasy drama Touched by an Angel (1994–2003), in which Reese played the leading role of Tess.