R&B singer and legendary actress Della Reese has died at the age of 86.
Reese, who released 18 studio albums, died of natural causes on Sunday. She is widely known for her starring role in hit shows like Touch By An Angel, but in hip hop she is more known for her roles in films like Harlem Knights, Beauty Shop, and A Thin Line Between Love. The scene with her and Eddie Murphy fighting when Eddie’s character, Vernest “Quick” Brown, accused her, Vera, of stealing will always be one of the funniest scenes in urban movie history.
Busta Rhymes and actress Mo’Nique famously recreated the scene for the music video “Pass The Courvoisier Part II” featuring Pharrell and Diddy. Black Twitter has been commenting on her death all day paying homage to an icon and trailblazer for the culture.
Aside from releasing 18 solo albums throughout her singing career, Della Reese was also the first black woman to ever have her own talk show, long before Oprah Winfrey became the queen of that niche. Her show, Della, aired between 1969 and 1970 and ran for 197 episodes. The show also elevated her profile in showbiz as she went on to be cast in a number of hit movies.
“The world has lost a huge talent,” Reese’s rep said in a statement about her death. “A successful actor, singer, writer and more for decades. Her life was difficult at times with illness and loss, but her cup was never ½ empty … and it wasn’t half full. It was overflowing with goodness and love for everyone.”
Rest in paradise Della Reese. You were loved and will be sadly missed.
Today in 1989 Harlem Nights opens in theaters
RIP Richard Pryor!
RIP Red Foxx!
RIP Tommy Ford!
RIP Reynaldo Rey!
RIP Robin Harris!
RIP Charlie Murphy!
And now Della Reese…pic.twitter.com/WN3wGaRns2
— Michael Gravesande (@OldBlackHack) November 20, 2017
— DJ KING ASSASSIN (@djkingassassin) November 20, 2017
Saddened to hear of the passing of Della Reese. I’ve enjoyed her artistry as long as I? can remember. May God grant her to Rest In Peace.
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) November 20, 2017