Everything you're looking for is here:
Poor Della. Five short runs in series television and lord knows how many pilots - it wasn't her fault the shows were failures, after all she had never been given her own network series, a primetime show created specifically for Della Reese that would sink or swim on its own merits.
It wasn't until 1991 that the star would get her chance, when Eddie Murphy revived the careers of Della Reese and Redd Foxx (and Richard Pryor) with his movie Harlem Nights. Murphy was so impressed after working with his childhood idols that he had a television show developed for Reese and Foxx as part of his deal with CBS.
The Royal Family debuted September 18, 1991 and was a modest success, with ratings climbing each week. Della played Victoria Royal, long suffering wife of Al Royal (Redd Foxx), mother to three kids and neighbor to obnoxious Willis Tillis (Shabaka).
Things were finally going Della's way. The Royal Family wasn't great, but it was a pretty decent show, audiences enjoyed the bantering between Della and her longtime friend and costar Redd Foxx - these two old pros more than overcame the tepid material.
But just a month after The Royal Family debuted, Redd Foxx suffered a critical heart attack during rehearsals. At first, everyone thought it was just a joke - that he was doing his 'I'm Coming, Elizabeth' routine.
As he lay dying, it became horrifyingly clear that this was no joke. Della Reese knelt down, held Redd Foxx and prayed - begging him "Don't Die Redd, Don't Die!"
(The death of Redd Foxx on the set)
Redd's death was written into the show, while Jackee (227) joined the series as Victoria's half-sister who comes to help out after the funeral. The show lost its footing - to viewers at home it looked like Victoria Royal had been yelling at her husband for four weeks and he finally had a heart attack and died. Not very funny except to someone like myself, so CBS put the show on hiatus in November.
In April of 1992, The Royal Family returned with Jackee now re-cast as Della's over-sexed eldest daughter. The show only ran for two more months. Again Della's hope for a steady gig vanished.
Della was furious with The Royal Family producers over the way Redd Foxx and his wife were treated during that difficult time and became understandably turned off by episodic television.
All of that changed in 1994 when she was cast in Touched by an Angel on CBS. Ratings were sluggish at first, but the show eventually became a runaway top-ten hit, guaranteed to give Della Reese the huge residuals that will take care of this hardworking veteran for the rest of her life. As it should be!
Local Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Video Vault / TV Goodbyes / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / More Modern TV Shows / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog
|TV's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the 1970s / The Eighties / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments|
|Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / Punk Book / / 1970's TV / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / Classic Cars / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Rockford Files / Sea Hunt / Superman on DVD / Toy Gun Ads / Flip Wilson Show / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / 1966 ABC TV Shows / 1967 TV Shows / 1968 TV Shows / Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll / Fridays / TV Moms / Red Skelton / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / ABC Movie of the Week / The Goldbergs / Daws Butler Commercials / Saturday Morning Commercials / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Amos 'n' Andy / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Commercial Icons of the 1960s / Soupy Sales / The Carpenters / Route 66 / Bozo / The Carpenters Christmas Specials / Local Kid Shows / Death of TV's Superman / Wonderama / Sesame Street / Bob Hope Specials / Little Rascals / 1980's Retro Gay T-Shirts / 1980's TV Wrestling / Fess Parker / Howdy Doody / TV Blog / Lost In Space / Pinky Lee / 1980's LA Punk Rock / Alex Toth Book / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More!|