Della Reese, ‘Touched by an Angel’ Star, Dies @ 86

Della Reese, a jazz singer who went on to become a familiar face on TV, has died at 86, Variety reports.

Having toured with gospel legend Mahalia Jackson (1911-1972)Reese enjoyed chart success with the #1 R&B hit "Don't You Know" in 1959, a song that went on to hit #2 on the pop charts.

In 1969, she became the first-ever African-American talk show host with Della, and later became one of the stars of Chico and the Man (1975-1978), which made the ill-fated Freddie Prinze (1954-1977) an overnight sensation and ended with his suicide.

Reese in the late '50s

She later had a recurring role on It Takes Two (1982-1983) starring Richard Crenna (1926-2003) and Patty Duke (1946-2016), Crazy Like a Fox (1985-1986) and The Royal Family (1991-1992), but is probably best known as Tess on Touched by an Angel (1994-2003) and Promised Land (1996-1998).

Reese was honored seven times with the NAACP Image Award for her work on Touched by an Angel, and was twice nominated for an Emmy.

Her most noteworthy film role was in 1989's Harlem Nights.

She is survived by her fourth husband Franklin Lett.

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