As reported by CNN, Natalie Desselle-Reid—best known for appearing on Eve and in films like B.A.P.S. and Madea’s Big Happy Family—has died. In a statement posted on her Instagram, Dessell-Reid’s family explained that she died earlier today from colon cancer, adding that “her diverse career touched so many and she will be loved forever.” Desselle-Reid was 53.
Desselle-Reid was born in Louisiana in 1967 and studied theater while in college. Her first credited acting role was a small appearance on Family Matters in 1996, but just a year later she starred in B.A.P.S. alongside Halle Berry. The film, directed by Robert Townsend, wasn’t especially well-received when it premiered (Roger Ebert’s review is particularly scathing), but it managed to develop a following over the years. In fact, just a few days ago, Berry posted a throwback video on her Instagram of her and Desselle-Reid walking around Los Angeles in-character that was met with a significantly warmer reception. Today, after hearing of Desselle-Reid’s death, Berry posted another message saying she was “in total shock” and “completely heartbroken.”
Desselle-Reid also appeared in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella with Brandy, Whitney Houston, and Whoopi Goldberg, and later had a major role on Eve. In the last few years, she popped up in Madea’s Big Happy Family, A Mother’s Rage, Zoe Gone, and The D.