"People need something to help them with their lives. In 'Touched by an Angel,' we didn't tell you what to do. If you were distraught and at a place where you felt there was nothing else to do, we would make a suggestion: "Did you ever think about it like this? It doesn't have to be that way. You can change your mind and change your life." It gave people at home, in the privacy of their homes, a chance to know that they too, could change their minds and change their life."
About This Interview
In her two-hour Archive interview, Della Reese speaks about her start as a singer at age thirteen touring with gospel legend Mahalia Jackson. She talks about the struggles in her early career (and such highlights as touring with Nat King Cole). She touches upon her first appearances on television, notably on The Ed Sullivan Show, for which she appeared 17 times. She talks about her appearances on The Merv Griffin Show and The Mike Douglas Show, and how both hosts broke barriers for African-Americans in television. She speaks in great detail about her own talk/variety series The Della Reese Show, commenting on markets the show played in and listing memorable guests. She describes her roles on the sitcoms Chico and the Man and Welcome Back, Kotter, joining both series mid-run. She recounts the time when, in October 1980 during a taping of the Tonight Show, she suffered a brain aneurysm. She describes her work as a regular on the series The Royal Family and relates the story of the tragic demise of series star Redd Foxx, after a collapse on the set. Lastly, she discusses the series for which she is most identified, Touched By An Angel, elaborating on the spiritual nature of the show, identifying memorable guest stars, and commenting on how CBS viewed the show. Beth Cochran conducted the interview in Los Angeles, CA on June 13, 2008.