Delloreese Patricia Early (July 6, 1931 – November 19, 2017), known professionally as Della Reese, was an American jazz and gospel singer, actress, and ordained minister whose career spanned seven decades.
Her 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.
From 1975 she also starred in films, 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).
Reese achieved continued success in the religious television drama Touched by an Angel (1994–2003), in which she played the leading role of Tess.