December 10, 2020

By Betti Halsell

Contributing Writer


July 12, 1967—Natalie Desselle was born in Alexandria, Louisiana. She graduated from Peabody Magnet High School and proceeded to go to college to attain a higher education. She attended Grambling State University for two and a half years where her passion became clear; she found herself engulfed by one of her first theatre experiences in the Grambling State production, "Bubbling Brown Sugar."  From there, Desselle was destined for a stellar career in Hollywood movie production.

The world received the devastating news that on Monday morning, December 7, 2020 Natalie Desselle- Reid, at age 53, passed away due to colon cancer. It was a private battle she was fighting with the support of her husband, Leonard Reid, and three children. 

Desselle Reid developed the reputation of being “sweet and giving,” as her peers recollect interactions with her during this unfortunate time. Recounting her steps, Desselle-Reid realized early on that she had a gift of mastering multiple characters and found the stage to be a fitting home to invite people into it; to showcase her talent.

Her break came from Robi Reed, casting her in a F. Gary Gray's production "Set It Off." This led to her guest starring role on noted sitcom, "Family Matters." She became an adopted L.A. native, learning the community of Inglewood. 

Desselle-Reid stuck to her journey on becoming a renowned actress and accomplished that vision on numerous accounts.  Her legacy lives on through her roles she played as Mickey (“B.A.P.S,” 1997), Minerva (“Cinderella,” 1997) Jenny Jackson (“How to Be a Player,” 1997), Tammy (“Madea’s Big Happy Family,” 2011), and the versatile actress appeared in 66 episodes of the comedy sitcom “Eve.”  Desselle- Reid’s list of acting roles mirror her devotion to the arts and the willpower to always work on polishing her craft.

Desselle-Reid's manager Delores Robinson announced the news Monday afternoon, “Natalie Desselle, the beautiful talented actress, passed away this morning.  Natalie was a bright light. She was an amazing actress and comedian but also an awesome mother and wife. Sending prayers to her family. I had the pleasure of managing her career,” she said.  Colleague, Holly Robinson-Peete relayed the news of her homecoming via twitter

Quoting the tweet Holly Robinson Peete wrote, "I got to know her when my mom was managing her. She will be so missed … sending out prayers to her children and husband.”  The two roles that will always remain by her name is beloved mother and wife. Co-star of the original “B.A.P.S,” Halle Berry, responded via social media that she was “totally shocked and will need a minute.”

The stage was beckoning for Desselle-Reid again, as she prepared for “B.A.P.S” live play before the COVID-19 outbreak delayed production. Desselle-Reid learned of her condition earlier this year and spent the last few days in hospice care. Her legacy is left behind with the characters she created and will continue to live on as the world mourns the tragic news.

Category: Arts & Culture