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Della Reese winging it again in holiday film

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Updated: December 26, 2012 6:19AM

At 81 years young, Della Reese is back in celestial territory in her new holiday movie.

“Christmas Angel,” airing at 6, 8 and 10 p.m. Sunday on GMC, revolves around a fifth-grader named Olivia who lives with a single mother. During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, a mysterious lady (Reese) moves into the house next door.

“Christmas wishes start to come true, and everyone is convinced that I’m actually an angel,” says Reese.

The former co-star of CBS’ “Touched by an Angel” chose to do the project because “the message is actually deep. It’s Christmas from different points of view.”

Reese, whose daughter Delorreese died in 2002, admits that the holiday season is tough on her and her husband of more than 30 years.

“I don’t celebrate as much as I used to before my daughter made her transition,” she says. “Christmas was always for her and my grandson, who is grown now.

“It’s still a wonderful holiday and I enjoy it. But it brings back so many memories of my daughter when I get those boxes of ornaments out and all the decorations. I’ve learned to let those be good memories instead of painful ones.”

Reese does relish that her show “Touched By An Angel” still touches so many — especially at this time of the year.

“People still come up and call me Tess. They don’t know my other name,” she says with a chuckle. “The show is being rerun now, which is having an impact.”

A few weeks ago, she was on a plane after shooting a project. “I wanted to nap, so when I got off the plane I’d be charming for my husband,” she says.

You know what they say about the best-laid plans. “This lady comes down the aisle on the plane, wakes me up and says, ‘I’m so glad I got to see you. You saved my life.’

“I thought she was pulling my leg,” Reese says. “She said, ‘My husband was 26 when he died. He wasn’t sick, so I wasn’t prepared for it. We had two children and I didn’t know what to say to my children because I didn’t know what to say to myself.’

“She went on to say, ‘I went into the living room and the TV was on. It was a ‘Touched by an Angel’ episode about a man who wasn’t afraid to die. At that moment I knew my husband was all right, my children would be all right and I would be all right.’ As far as I’m concerned that show is on the top of my list of anything I’ve ever done.”

“I watch the shows now. I never watched when they were first on and the network is lucky. I would have asked for twice as much money! That show was really good.”

Reese is so positive in her attitude that it’s downright infectious.

“I do know why I always see the glass more than half full,” she says. “My mother gave me a gift when I was a little girl. She taught me to accept God as not just someone I serve on Sunday, but as a personal friend.

“I’m a very trusting person in life. I know that someone has my back.”

Big Picture News Inc.

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