She was born Delloreese Patricia Early on July 6, 1931, in Detroit, Michigan. She began singing in church when she was 6-years old. By her teens, she was working as a singer in gospel luminary Mahalia Jackson’s unit.
After graduating from Detroit’s Cass Technical High School, she briefly attended Wayne State University, but soon moved into music professionally, taking Della Reese as her professional name.
Della Reese was the first Black woman to host her own talk show, which was launched in 1969 and called “Della”.
Della Reese got her first acting break from casting director Reuben Cannon, who offered her a guest shot on the cop show “The Mod Squad” in 1968. She also appeared in roles on “Police Woman,” “The Rookies,” “McCloud” Chico and the Man,” Welcome Back Kotter,” and “The A-Team.” Read the rest of this entry