Natalie Desselle Reid, star of 1997 film ‘B.A.P.S.,’ dead at 53

Actress Natalie Desselle Reid, who starred in the 1997 film “B.A.P.S.” and played Janie Egins in the 2003-2006 sitcom “Eve,” died Monday. She was 53. 

The Alexandria, Louisiana, native’s death was confirmed by Je’Caryous Johnson, CEO of Je’Caryous Entertainment, which had been planning a stage adaption of “B.A.P.S.” 

“It is with great sadness and heavy, heavy hearts that Je’Caryous Johnson and the entire Je’Caryous Entertainment family mourns the passing of one of our own, our sweet, unforgettable actress/comedian Natalie Desselle Reid,” Johnson said in a statement to The Post, adding that she was “excited and ready to bring her iconic role as ‘Mickey’” while rehearsing in February and March this year.

“Immediately upon meeting and working with her, we fell in love with her undeniably witty, always giving and caring and hilariously show-stopping personality,” Johnson continued. “The world has truly lost one of its most angelic souls here on Earth. To know Natalie was to know someone who cared for and cultivated her craft to the tee. There will never be another woman like her who so effortlessly lit up the screen, as well as any room she walked into.” He added that the company’s “family” would “celebrate the life and legacy she so fearlessly and honorably lived,” adding, “We will always love you Natalie!” 

Desselle Reid’s cause of death was reportedly colon cancer, which she had been secretly fighting since earlier this year, according to TMZ.

Actress Holly Robinson Peete starred in the 1998-2002 NBC sitcom “For Your Love,” which featured Desselle Reid in a recurring role. In remembrance on Twitter, Peete said she got to know Desselle Reid when her mother, Dolores Robinson, managed her. Peete called her “a bright shining star,” and added, “Just absolutely decimated by this news … She will be so missed … sending out prayers to her children and husband. Rest In Peace, Sweet Girl.”

Dolores Robinson posted her own tribute on Twitter. “Natalie Desselle the beautiful talented actress passed away this morning. Natalie was a bright light,” Robinson wrote. “She was an amazing actress and comedienne but also an awesome mother & wife. Sending prayers to her family. I had the pleasure of managing her career.”

Rapper Bow Wow, who appeared alongside Desselle Reid in the 2011 movie “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” wrote, “Sending my love and condolences out to Natalie Desselle family.”

BAPS, (aka B.A.P.S.), Natalie Desselle, Halle Berry, 1997, (c)New Line Cinema/courtesy Everett Colle

Natalie Desselle Reid with Halle Berry in “B.A.P.S.”

©New Line Cinema/Everett Collection

CINDERELLA, Jason Alexander , Paolo Montalban, Brandy Norwood, Whitney Houston, Bernadette Peters, V

“Cinderella” starred Jason Alexander, Paolo Montalban, Brandy Norwood, Whitney Houston, Bernadette Peters, Veanne Cox and Natalie Desselle Reid.

©Walt Disney Co./Everett Collection

EVE, L-R:  Ali Landry, Brian Hooks, Sean Maguire, Natalie Desselle-Reid, Jason George and Eve, 2003-

“Eve” cast: Ali Landry, Brian Hooks, Sean Maguire, Natalie Desselle Reid, Jason George and Eve.

©Warner Bros/Everett Collection

MADEA'S BIG HAPPY FAMILY, l-r: Loretta Devine, Bow Wow (aka Shad 'Bow Wow' Moss), Natalie Desselle R

Loretta Devine, Bow Wow and Natalie Desselle Reid in a scene from “Madea’s Big Happy Family.”

©Lions Gate/Everett Collection

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Desselle Reid appeared in guest roles in a number of series over the years, including “ER,” “Yes, Dear” and “Family Matters.” In 1997 she also played Minerva in the ABC TV musical “Cinderella,” which starred Whitney Houston, Brandy, Whoopi Goldberg, Bernadette Peters, Jason Alexander and Victor Garber.

Fans also expressed condolences on social media. “There are so many Black actors who have made a cultural impact even if they themselves never become ‘stars,’” wrote one admirer. “The fact that BAPS is still relevant in 2020, along with Brandy’s ‘Cinderella,’ all of which Natalie Desselle was a part of. I just hope she knew how much she meant to us.” Another added, “She was loved by so many and will continue to be!!”

Desselle Reid is survived by her husband, Leonard Reid, whom she married in 2003, and three children. Reid was by her side when she passed away.

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