Music legend and 'Touched by an Angel' star Della Reese dead at 86

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 2:14 PM

Remembering Della Reese

“Touched By An Angel” actress and music legend Della Reese passed away on Sunday, friends said in a statement to PEOPLE. She was 86.

>> Read more trending news

“On behalf of her husband, Franklin Lett, and all her friends and family, I share with you the news that our beloved Della Reese has passed away peacefully at her California home last evening surrounded by love. She was an incredible wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and pastor, as well as an award-winning actress and singer. Through her life and work she touched and inspired the lives of millions of people,” Reese’s “Touched by an Angel” co-star Roma Downey said in a statement to PEOPLE.

On behalf of her husband, Franklin Lett, and all her friends and family, I share with you the news that our beloved...

Posted by Roma Downey on Monday, November 20, 2017

“She was a mother to me and I had the privilege of working with her side by side for so many years on ‘Touched By an Angel.’ I know heaven has a brand new angel this day. Della Reese will be forever in our hearts. Rest In Peace, sweet angel. We love you.”

Downey posted to Facebook on Friday, requesting that fans pray for Reese.

Thank you friends for all your prayers for this great lady ......please keep them coming I know they are such a comfort to Miss Della .🕊🕊🕊🕊🕊🕊🕊 #dellareese #prayfordella #angel #touchedbyanangel

Posted by Roma Downey on Friday, November 17, 2017

Before landing the role as Tess on “Touched by an Angel,” Reese was an accomplished singer who rose to national fame in 1957 with her song, “And That Reminds Me.” She had several other hits, including “Not One Minute More,” “And Now,” “Don’t You Know?” and “The Most Beautiful Words.”

When she made the move to television, Reese saw success in parts on series including “The Love Boat,” “MacGyver” and “The Young and the Restless.” She also had her own television variety hour called “Della” and was the first black woman to co-host “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” She went on to play Tess in “Touched by an Angel’s” 1994 debut and continued through the end of the series in 2003.

In this March 8, 1998 file photo, actress Della Reese, nominated for best dramatic actress for her role in the television series "Touched by an Angel", arrives for the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. Reese, the actress and gospel-influenced singer who in middle age found her greatest fame as Tess, the wise angel in the long-running television drama "Touched by an Angel," died at age 86. A family representative released a statement Monday that Reese died peacefully Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, in California. No cause of death or additional details were provided. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)(Mark J. Terrill/AP)

Reese had a near-death experience in 1979 when she suffered a brain aneurysm. The health scare lead her to found her own church, Understanding Principles for Better Living.

She is survived by her husband Franklin Lett and children James, Franklin and Dominique. Her daughter Deloreese Owens passed away in 2002.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Swedish musician Avicii dead at 28

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 1:40 PM

Avicii Dead at 28

Swedish DJ Avicii was found dead Friday in Oman, his publicist confirmed. He was 28.

>> Read more trending news

Trending - Most Read Stories

Judge forces David Copperfield to reveal 'Lucky #13' magic trick

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 7:09 AM

What You Need To Know: David Copperfield

David Copperfield was forced to shatter his most famous illusion.

>> Read more trending news

The famed magician was ordered in court Tuesday to break the Magicians Oath in court Tuesday, the BBC reported. A judge ordered Copperfield to explain one of his most famous tricks -- the Lucky #13 -- during a trial involving a man who claimed he was injured during the stunt.

British tourist Gavin Cox, 58, filed a negligence lawsuit against the illusionist, Time reported. Cox claimed he fell while participating in the Lucky #13 trick at the MGM Grand Resort and Casino in Las Vegas in 2013, the BBC reported. In the trick, Copperfield makes 13 audience members, chosen at random, disappear on stage and then reappear at the back of the room, the BBC reported. 

Cox told NBC News that he has suffered chronic pain and brain injury and has spent more than $400,000 on medical bills.

Copperfield’s attorney argued that revealing the secret would be financially detrimental, but a Las Vegas district court ruled against the magician

A Las Vegas district court rejected Copperfield’s defense, which argued that disclosing the secret behind the trick would be financially detrimental to him. He was ordered to explain how the trick was done.

Spoiler alert: Copperfield’s executive producer testified that when the curtain falls, the 13 volunteers are taken through passageways that circle the MGM building. They exit the building and then re-enter at the back of the theater, Time reported.

“There was a duty by the defendants to provide a safe environment to the audience participants,” Cox’s lawyer, Benedict Morelli, said in the opening statements.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Actors Rachel Weisz, Daniel Craig expecting first child

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 9:12 AM

Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig are expecting their first child together. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig are expecting their first child together. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)(Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Actor Rachel Weisz has announced that she and her husband, James Bond actor Daniel Craig, are expecting their first child.

The actress revealed the news when she spoke to The New York Times to promote her movie “Disobedience.”

>> Read more trending news 

“I’ll be showing soon. Daniel and I are so happy,” she told The Times. “We’re going to have a little human. We can’t wait to meet him or her. It’s all such a mystery.”

Weisz, 48, and Craig, 50, have been married for seven years and are very private about their personal lives, but Weisz did share that she is happy in her marriage.

“I’m very happy being married,” she said, “Very, very happy,”

Although Weisz applauds celebrity couples who have made their relationships part of their brand, that’s not the case for her marriage

“Daniel and I are really similar. We just literally don’t know how to do that,” Weisz said. “We’re just really crap at talking about our private lives.”

This is the second child for each actor. E! News reported that Weisz has an 11-year-old son with director Darren Aronofsky and Craig has a 25-year-old daughter with actress Fiona London.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams engaged to pastor Chad Johnson

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 12:20 PM

Getting To Know Michelle Williams

Former Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams is getting married.

The 37-year-old singer is engaged to pastor Chad Johnson, 40, after a year of dating.

Williams and Johnson opened up to People about their love story, which began in March 2017 at a spiritual retreat hosted by Elevate International.

>> Read more trending news 

Johnson, founder of Elevate International, led the retreat in Arizona and said he and Williams were in “very similar places on a personal level.”

“I was in a horrible, dark place,” Williams said. “I just needed to go somewhere where I could get a message of hope and restoration, rejuvenation — get connected to God.”

“Michelle was coming off the heels of a really bad relationship, and I was just in a place of despair as well,” Johnson, a professional sports chaplain who has worked with the Pittsburgh Steelers and L.A. Dodgers, said.

The two kept in touch after the retreat and progressed from texts to FaceTime calls.

“We spent almost three months without even seeing each other, just building a strong foundation on the phone and through FaceTime,” Johnson told People. “It was really built on friendship and communication.”

The two went on their first date at a wedding in the Dominican Republic, had their first kiss and decided to date officially.

“I told her, ‘I’ve been looking. I don’t want to look anymore. I’m done. My search is over,’” Johnson said.

A year to the day Johnson first reached out to Williams -- on March 21 -- the two got engaged. Johnson proposed with a 5-carat ring and a video of himself with members of Williams’ family.

“I started weeping and wailing when I see all these special people,” Williams said. “Towards the end of the video, something in my head said, ‘Pull yourself together! He’s about to propose! Stop all this crying!’”

Williams said she was drawn to her now-fiance because she could be herself with him, adding that Johnson calls her by her first name.

“My first name is Tenitra; my middle name is Michelle. I felt like I could be Tenitra; just ratchet, I didn’t have to have on any makeup, if I had to have on my hair bonnet — he just made me feel very safe in being myself,” she said.

The two plan on having a wedding this summer.

“It’s gonna be … think James Bond-meets-’Midsummer Night’s Dream’ — with a little hood in it,” Williams said. “It’s gonna be very traditional. We’re doing black-tie. We want it to be small and intimate and very private.”

Find out more about Johnson’s proposal and the couple’s love story at People.com.

Trending - Most Read Stories