This hour-long one-on-one interview program provided a rare and insightful look into the life of legendary actress, minister and entertainer, Della Reese. Taped in Atlanta on June 18, 2004, in front of a live audience, Reese was interviewed by actress Lorraine Toussaint, former star of the television series Any Day Now.
From singing to acting to preaching at her church, Understanding Principles for Better Living, Reese’s career has been one worthy of celebrating. From her childhood in Detroit to singing with Mahalia Jackson and becoming the first black woman to host her own TV show, Della, to her hugely successful program Touched By An Angel, Reese has amazed audiences for six decades. A gospel singer, an actress, a minister, Della Reese is above all, an icon.
An Evening With Della Reese featured seldom seen historic footage of Reese's early career. Taped in front of a live audience at Georgia Public Broadcasting, An Evening With Della Reese marked the first time The HistoryMakers took their signature An Evening With... series on the road. With a sold-out audience of three hundred, An Evening With Della Reese swept the audience away.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Della Reese began singing in her church choir by age six, and by thirteen she was singing with Mahalia Jackson. With her roots in gospel music, Reese won a contest at Detroit’s famed Flame Show Bar. This gave her the opportunity to perform regularly and to expand her musical influences. After moving to New York City, Reese recorded several albums, earning her first hit, "And That Reminds Me (Of You)," and shortly thereafter recorded her biggest hit, "Don’t You Know?" Her success led her to numerous television engagements, including more than twenty appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, and by 1969, she was hosting her own talk show, Della. Reese continued to sing and act throughout her career. Reese played the role of Tess in the popular TV series Touched By An Angel. In addition to her two Grammy Award nominations, Reese was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994.
Reese passed away in 2017.
Born in Trinidad, actress of stage and screen Lorraine Toussaint moved with her family to Brooklyn, New York, when she was ten years old. Unsure of how to answer the question, “What do you want to do with your life?,” Toussaint opened the phone book to A and saw a number of acting schools, opening the door to her destiny. After attending the Juilliard School, she landed her first acting job on graduation day, playing Lady MacBeth in Shakespeare’s work. After more than a decade on-stage in New York, she moved to Los Angeles, where she began working in television and the movies. Toussaint is perhaps best known for numerous roles on Law & Order and in the TV miniseries Queen, based on the book by Alex Haley. Her role in Lifetime TV’s Any Day Now, garnered her three nominations for the NAACP Image Awards.
Georgia Public Broadcasting Studio C
260 14th Street Northwest
Atlanta, GA 30318