Della Reese

With her combined singing and acting career stretching over six decades Della Reese was a household name in her native US. She was born in the historic Black Bottom district of Detroit, an area named by early French settlers because of the rich black top soil. The area became more famous in the 20th century due to an extraordinary amount of successful African American singers and musicians who came from there and the name Black Bottom became synonymous with blues, big band and jazz during the 1930s right through to the late '50s. Reese followed in the footsteps of many other Black Bottom performers when she had her first hit single in 1957 with 'And That Reminds Me', a top 20 hit for her which went on to sell over a million copies. By the time the single hit the charts Reese had already recorded six albums with Jubilee Records and the exposure created by the single resulted in Reese being named as The Most Promising Singer in 1957 by the influential music industry magazine 'Cash Box'. Reese's singing career went from strength to strength throughout the 1960s and she became a top attraction in Las Vegas before concentrating on developing her television and film career which would eventually bring her even greater success. In later life Reese suffered from diabetes which she claims was self-inflicted and brought on by years of poor dietary control. She retired from acting in 2014 and passed away in 2017 at the age of 86.

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