Roma Downey And The "Touched By An Angel" Crew Paying Tribute To Della Reese

Date November 30, 2017 17:49

Pastor, singer, and actress Della Reese, who is popularly known for her iconic role as Tess in the popular 1990s CBS television series "Touched by an Angel", died peacefully at her home on Sunday at the age of 86.

The news of Della Reese's demise came as former "Touched By An Angel" co-star Roma Downey released a statement on her passing. The statement reads:

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.


Della's Background and Career

Reese, who began singing for audiences at the tender age of at her local church, had her roots clearly in gospel music. By the time she was 13, she was hired to perform with Mahalia Jackson’s gospel group, with whom she later toured.

In the late 1940s she formed her own music group called the "Meditation Singers," this group was strongly influenced by jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. In 1953 she signed a deal with Jubilee Records, releasing six jazz-focused albums. Her breakout hit came in 1959, with her hit single “Don’t You Know?”


In the late 1960s, she turned to television and film starting in the late, hosting her own talk show Della, and later starring 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).

And of course, she co-starred with Downey as Tess in "Touched By An Angel," which ran on CBS from 1994-2003. A statement released by CBS reads:

We’re deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Della Reese. She was a multi-talented, award-winning performer who shined brightly on soundstages and in concert halls. For nine years, we were privileged to have Della as part of the CBS family when she delivered encouragement and optimism to millions of viewers as Tess on “Touched By An Angel.” We will forever cherish her warm embraces and generosity of spirit. She will be greatly missed. Another angel has gotten her wings.


Reese’s most recent television appearance was earlier this year on "Bates Motel." She might be gone, but she lives on. An angel, who has touched our lives. And for her life we are grateful.

Her Legacy In "Touched by an Angel"

"Touched by an Angel" is an American supernatural drama television series that premiered on CBS on September 21, 1994, and ran for 211 episodes and nine seasons until its conclusion on April 27, 2003.

Created by John Masius and produced by Martha Williamson, the series stars Roma Downey, as an angel named Monica, and Late Della Reese, as her supervisor named Tess.

Throughout the series, Monica is an angel tasked with bringing guidance and messages from God to various people who are at a crossroads in their lives. From Season Three onward, they are frequently joined by Andrew (John Dye), the angel of death (who first appeared as a recurring character in season two).


The series went into syndication in 1998 and has been shown on Ion Television (formerly PAX-TV), Hallmark Channel, Up, and Me-TV.

READ ALSO: Roma Downey Takes Part In The Development Of “The Baxter Family” TV Series

Records Set By "Touched by an Angel"

It became CBS's highest-rated series during season three and continued through season six, when it was the ninth most-watched network series, with 17,190,000 viewers that amounted to a 15% share of the market as determined by Nielsen Media Research

The series was nominated  3 times for the globe awards, and also nominated 45 times for other awards and won other 26 awards in different categories.

The show was a hit and have lots of impacts even today, running for nine years, "telling stories of God's impact in our everyday life. We know who needs help in their lives." Reese talking about the show said:

In the show, we didn't tell you what to do, we said, 'Did you ever think about it like this?

As we went through the review of the movie by the tons of individuals who watched the show. It was glaring that even atheists said they had a rethink as a result of watching the show. Though they don't believe in God or angels.


When you read through internet on reviews and comments on the movie you will see tons of similar testimonies of how the show didn't just entertain its audience but left them changed.

Though Reese may not have won a major award, she did accomplish something in her career that was the envy of many performers.

She has indeed touched the lives of so many — with her sassy, straightforward, warm, and loving approach she shared the message of God’s love with millions. Reese is survived by her husband and three children.

READ ALSO: Despite The Pain And Cancer Fight TV Series Star Christina Applegate Remains Gorgeous And Helps Others