Della Reese

Della Reese, the actress and gospel-influenced singer who in middle age found her greatest fame as Tess, the wise angel in the long-running television drama "Touched by an Angel," died Nov. 19, 2017. Before "Touched by an Angel" debuted in 1994, Reese was mainly known as a singer, although she had costarred on "Chico and the Man," "Charlie and Company" and "The Royal Family" and hosted her own talk show, "Della." "Touched by an Angel" was a gamble for CBS from the start. The story of an apprentice angel (Roma Downey) and her supervisor (Reese) being sent to Earth to solve people's problems appeared to have little chance in a TV world dominated by sitcoms and police dramas. The first season brought mediocre ratings, but slowly the show's audience grew until it became one of television's highest rated dramas. It lasted until 2003. Reese was 86.

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