will and jazz

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“I’m really, really… thankful that that’s the case. Discovering that we make such a positive impact on people is really one of the great joys of doing this. Not expecting it and not appreciating it are very, very different. So thank you. All I ever think is that I can’t believe I get to do this. […] And thank you all so much for letting me have this ridiculous job.” | Happy Birthday, Ryan!

Della Reese Has Passed Away at 86


Della Reese, who many know to be a spectacular jazz singer and a popular actress responsible for bringing us the magnificent Tess from Touched by an Angel, passed away on Sunday night at her California home.  She was 86 years old.

From her buttery smooth yet powerful voice flowed hits like “Don’t You Know,” which was drawn from an aria from Puccini’s opera La Boheme.  Reese’s delivery of the ballad left listeners with chills that could only be credited to her widely extensive range.  Her clear and concise pronunciation allowed fans to sing along with the dreamy track.

Over the course of her exemplary career, she received four Grammy Award nominations.

In 1969, Della became a pioneer in television history by launching the first ever talker hosted by an African-American woman called Della.  Not only did she pave the way for women who craved a fearless model to glean from, she also blazed her own trail for the start of a rather prominent acting career.

Although Della Reese had always proven mastery with her impeccable vocal abilities, perhaps she is more recently known for the role she played as experienced angel Tess on the magnetic and iconic television series Touched by an Angel.  Throughout the show’s journey, Reese comfortably settled into the wise matriarchal character of Tess as she guides the other angels to understand their purpose.  Despite the program being canceled during its debut 1994-95 season, a letter-writing campaign persuaded executives to return the show to its rightful place, proving its great significance.  In the end, a halo clad Della Reese sparkled as the heavenly Tess for a total of nine glorious seasons, landing herself seven consecutive NAACP Image Awards as best lead actress in a drama and two Emmy nominations, along with a 1998 Golden Globe nod.

Regardless of how you came to know the multi-talented woman named Della Reese, there’s no doubt that you are now a better person because of it.  Her profound accomplishments and amazing presence will continue to put a smile on all of our faces for many years to come.