PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Detroit’s own singer/actress/author/minister Della Reese was honored with the 384th star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars last Sunday. Reese was born in Detroit, started singing at age six then attended Cass Technical High School. She later studied psychology at Wayne State University.
“The surprises that you’ve given me today have been magnificent,” Reese said. “I will always try to be all that God wants me to be. I’ve already been what I’ve wanted to be. I hope I’ve been what he wanted me to be. I think I have, I feel like I have. I’m so full of the love that you’ve given me today. I will always be available to you. If you need to talk, if you need to pray. If you see me on the streets, stop me. God has used me to open a door for you so you’ll be able to think better and know better and love better. Know that he loves you more than anything else.”
Actress Roma Downey starred alongside Reese for nine long seasons on the hit CBS drama “Touched by an Angel.” Della also officiated Downey’s wedding to Mark Burnett.
“She was godmother to my daughter Reilly, and I never forget the day in the church, little baby Reilly was held up in the air like a scene from ‘The Lion King,’ Downey said. “And with all the strength that Della can muster and that’s quite a bit of strength. She held Reilly in the air and said, ‘As long as there is breath in my body, I will always stand up for this child.’ She’s just been true and there for our family.”
Downey added: “My mother died when I was 10 years of age. In my whole life, I had looked for that relationship. I met my mother again in Della Reese. She took me in her arms and she said to me, ‘You know, baby, God is just so amazing. I always knew that he brought me into your life because you needed a mother. I just didn’t realize he brought you into my life because I needed a baby girl.’ From that moment, I became her baby girl and she became my momma.”
Actress Diane Ladd has starred in over 120 movies and television shows. She received an Emmy nomination for her guest role on “Touched by an Angel.”
“Della is a diamond, she has something to say and her angels never leave her,” Ladd explained. “They’re always around her to greet each one of you. She’s not just a human being, in my heart, she’s an angel today and forever. I am so privileged to have her in my life and have her be here today. If anyone deserves a star anywhere, I’m sure it’s Della Reese.
The ceremony ended with the official unveiling of Della Reese’s star, No. 384 on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. For those looking to take a picture of Della Reese’s star, it’s located at 515 N. Palm Canyon Drive across from the historic Palm Canyon Theater.
“God wakes me in the morning and when he does, I’m happy to see the day,” Reese added. “I’m so appreciative that you’ve came together and that you love me enough to say it out loud.”
Original “Wheel of Fortune” hostess Susan Stafford read a list of regrets from celebrities who could not attend the ceremony. Actress Linda Gray was among those unable to attend due to a family illness.
Claudia Thompson did hair and makeup for Reese in the television pilot for “The Pink Panther” and shared a memorable moment with me.
“We were in the trailer doing hair with an assistant director knocking on the door, she grabbed the comb, listening to my voice and said, ‘You’re a singer?’, Thompson recalled. “There I am, I’m doing hair right. I said, yes, in my spare time. She had the comb in her hand and said, ‘I’m not giving this back until you own God’s gift and promise me that you’ll express it.’ So I had to stand there and say, ‘I am a singer and thank you God for my gift.’ Then, she let me finish her hair. Her comment all of those years ago set me on a path.”
Attendee Lon McCoy from Palm Springs loves Reese so much that he got choked up during the ceremony.
“It was extraordinary, just talking about it brings tears in my eyes,” McCoy said. “I watched ‘Touched by an Angel’ every week. You can just feel the love coming from her today. It just took over everywhere. When you get that much love coming at you, it’s a beautiful thing.”
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