Della Reese

Reese in 2010, Helga Esteb /

Birth Name: Delloreese Patricia Early

Date of Birth: July 6, 1931

Place of Birth: Black Bottom, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.

Date of Death: November 19, 2017

Place of Death: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: African-American

Della Reese was an American singer, of nightclub, jazz, gospel, and pop music, as well as an actress and talk show host, in a career that spanned six decades. She is known for her 1959 hit single Don’t You Know, and for starring as Tess on the series Touched by an Angel. She was an ordained minister, through the Christian New Thought branch Unity. She also served as the senior minister and founder of her own church, Understanding Principles for Better Living.

Della was born in Detroit, the daughter of Nellie/Nelly (Mitchelle/Mitchell) and Richard Thaddeus Early, who were from Tennessee. Her parents were both African-American.

Della’s mother was said to have been of Cherokee Native American descent. It is not clear if this Cherokee ancestry has been verified/documented.

Della began singing in church as a child. She was married to concert producer and writer Franklin Thomas Lett, Jr., until her death. She had four children.

Sources: New York Times article about Della Reese –

Della Reese on the 1940 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

6 Responses

  1. fuzzybear44 says:

    R.I.P Della

  2. bablah says:

    Rest in peace, Della.

  3. Natasha says:

    Sorry,I made a mistake,it’s actually Welsh.

  4. Natasha says:

    Her surname is Irish.

    • Indiablack says:

      @natasha, honey let me help
      You out, i can see you are
      Clueless, thats her daddy
      Last name not her mothers
      Honey, and when
      Native americans lefted the
      Reseravtion, to have a better
      Life, alot of native americans
      Adopted white irish,english and
      Dutch last names, to live like
      Everybody else (DUH) so get your
      Facts straight, if a native american
      Worked for you, you would right
      The check for pay them by there
      English name henry smith, not
      Red cloud,white dove, dark wolf
      Or sunflower, lol understand,
      Again it was normal for native
      American steal or adopted english
      Names and lasted names, thats a
      Facted, but i dont think dellas
      Mother was full blooded native
      American indian, we just need more
      Proof, dellas mother maybe had indian
      In her but i doubt it was full indian

  5. 10 cbs says:

    I prefer consumers who actually blog, it is really tough to obtain this form of insight just about any way. First-rate work.

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