Breakout stars don’t come along very often and when they do rear their head, they most often make the headlines. In the 1960s, it was all about Della Reese, the singer, actress and model who later turned TV star. Making waves in the entertainment industry, Reese was the first black woman to host her own television show, paving the way for the likes of Oprah down the line. Incredibly, however, little to no footage remains of the TV personality and Reese has been somewhat forgotten over the years. It’s time to make a change.
Born in Detroit, Reese was introduced to the likes of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford from a young age, thanks to trips taken with her mother to the movies. Ever since she got a glimpse of the silver screen, Reese dreamed big and while she showed an interest throughout her younger years, she finally got her big break in 1949.
Making a debut in her gospel choir, Della Reese was quickly snapped up by the music industry, the likes of whom introduced her to jazz and R&B. Her singing career quickly flung Reese into the limelight and not before long, she had a string of hit singles and a lot of public interest in her talents. Later on, Reese bridged the gap into acting, becoming one of the first black women in history to have a starring role on a television show.
After showing her talents, it wasn’t long before Reese was approached to become the starring lady of a different kind. In 1968, a producer proposed the idea of hosting her own television show that was set to air for one hour every weekday. Interviewing the likes of Muhammed Ali, Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight, Reese got up close and personal with some of the biggest stars of the time. While the show did eventually come to an end, it was a huge hit and spoke to a huge positive change in the entertainment industry.
Since then, however, much of Reese’s footage has gone missing, with insiders citing film loss as a major reason behind the disappearance. Reese went on to bigger and better things, however, and it is perhaps her appearance in TV series “Touched By An Angel” that really defined her career. Following her own path and paving the way for others after her, Della Reese was really one of a kind and was responsible for some of the biggest changes in the entertainment world to date.