- While still in her early teens, she was discovered by Mahalia Jackson and was invited to join the legendary gospel singer's touring choir for the summer.
- In college, she started a women's gospel group called the Meditation Singers; she cut back on performing with the group after leaving school to help support her family following her mother's death.
- Signed with Jubilee Records after relocating to New York in 1953 and scored a hit with the 1957 single "And That Reminds Me," which led to regular appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show.
- Became the first black woman to host her own talk show when Della premiered in 1969; it aired for one season.
- During a 1979 performance on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, she suffered a brain aneurysm and was thought to be near death.
- An ordained minister, she started her own church, called Understanding Principles for Better Living Church.
- Became close friends with Roma Downey, her costar on the CBS drama series Touched By An Angel, and officiated at Downey's 2007 wedding ceremony to TV reality producer Mark Burnett.
- 1998, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Nominee
- 1997, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
- 1998, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
- 1997, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series: Nominee
- 1996, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series: Nominee
- Franklin Lett — Husband
- Franklin Lett III — Son
- Vermont Taliaferro — Ex-husband
- Dominique Lett — Daughter
- James Barger — Son
- Nellie Early — Mother
- Deloreese Daniels Owens — Daughter
- Richard Early — Father
- Attended Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
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