Tuesday, 7 July 2009

From gospel to The A-Team

Many happy returns yesterday to the magnificent Della Reese, 78 years old. Who even knew she was still alive?

Miss Reese rose to fame in the 1950s and 60s, with hit singles such as Don't You Know and Someday (You'll Want Me to Want You), and her soulful gospel voice earned her several Grammy nominations.

In the 70s, she made a transition to acting, appearing in a number of hit shows in the US including Chico and the Man. At the height of her success in 1979 she almost died of a stroke, but after neurosurgery she made a full recovery, and continued her recording and screen career, appearing alongside Eddie Murphy in the film Harlem Nights, and making numerous cameo and guest appearances on TV. In later years she returned to her gospel roots, and is an ordained minister in one of America's numerous "happy clapper" churches.

Madame Arcati and I only recently discovered the lovely Della, when we stumbled across her cha-cha-cha version of Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend (what else!). And here is the lady herself...

Della Reese trivia:
  • she played the mother of "B. A. Baracus" in The A-Team.
  • she was the first black woman to guest host The Tonight Show in the US.
  • she was launched in her singing career when she was "discovered" by Mahalia Jackson.
Della Reese music profile on MySpace

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