by TRN Staff Writers
The saying goes when it rains it pours and for fans of two of Hollywood’s most beloved stars, the skies have opened up and are pouring grief. Black Hollywood has lost two of its veteran stars.
Actress Della Reese spent years playing a heavenly being on the long-running popular show “Touched by an Angel”, on Sunday, the actress left this world for her own divine appointment with angels. Reese died Sunday at the age of 86. Her family said in a statement, Reese died at her California home and was surrounded by love in her final moments as family including her children gathered at her side.
Reese was an award-winning actress and singer who began performing at the tender age of 12 when she says she was recruited by legendary gospel singer Mahalia Jackson to go on tour with her. Reese would soon stray from mentor as she would the gospel genre as she tried her talent on jazz and pop songs. In 1959, Reese signed on with RCA Records and scored her first hit “Don’t You Know” which topped R&B and pop charts. It was the biggest hit record of her sixty year career. The following year she released her album “Della” with the hit song “Not One Minute More” which garnered her a Grammy nomination. Her popularity lead to magazine covers and even a short lived TV talk show titled “Della” which was cancelled after one season. Reese continued appearances in sitcoms, movies and miniseries on the small screen, but she also felt at home on the big screen. One of her most memorable roles was alongside Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx in the 1989 hit movie “Harlem Nights”.
Reese’s signature role didn’t come until late in her career as one of the female leads in the inspirational TV show “Touched by an Angel”. Reese played “Tess” the angel which wasn’t much of a stretch for the actress who was also an ordained minister. The series aired for nine years and led to five NAACP Image Awards, multiple nominations for both an Emmy and Golden Globe awards and a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Last year amid reports of failing health , Reese disclosed that she had two brain operations and that that she was suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Hollywood also bid a sad farewell to another long time legend, actor Earle Hyman who was best known as the wise and loving father/grandfather on “The Cosby Show”.
Hyman died at the Lillian Booth Actors home in New Jersey. Hyman grew up in Brooklyn where the acting bug bit him after he saw a live production of the play “Ghosts”. Hyman started out on the Broadway stage where he landed a role in “Run, Little Chillun” as a teen. His acting credits include “A Raisin in the Sun”, “Macbeth” and Julius Caesar”. With a solid Broadway start, Hyman’s career soon expanded to the small screen which included a role on the long running soap “The Edge of Night” and an animated series as the voice of Pantro on “ThunderCats”. But audiences will best remember Hyman in the signature role of Russell Huxtable on “The Cosby Show”. Hyman earned an Emmy nom for the part. His death was enough to bring Bill Cosby who has avoided the limelight since being accused of and tried for sexual assault back into the world of social media. A post from Cosby on the passing of his former co-star…
Earle Hyman brought love, dignity and integrity to Grandpa Huxtable. Thank you, Earle, you will live forever.
— Bill Cosby (@BillCosby) November 20, 2017
We here at TRN extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends and fans of both Reese and Hyman. Their stars may have grown dimmer, but the light they shared through laughter and song will continue to shine for generations.