Even she could not have predicted this. When it is your time to go, you go. The legendary self-proclaimed TV psychic, Youree ‘Miss Cleo’ Harris has died at just 53-years-old after a bout with cancer.
In the late 90’s to early 2000’s, Miss Cleo reigned supreme in the psychic commercial world as one of the top television ‘visionaries.’ With her fake Jamaican accent – she was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and straight to the point ‘readings,’ she quickly rose to prominence, but as with anything that seems a bit dodgy, it eventually comes to an end.
But her fame also led to questions about her past. In 2002, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer published an investigation that revealed she had a list of aliases and a longer list of former colleagues on the local theater scene who said they had been cheated out of money and questioned her Jamaican background.
In 2002, the Psychic Readers Network and Access Resource Services were the subject of a federal lawsuit that ordered the companies to forgive $500 million in customer fees. The networks agreed to stop selling their services over the phone, and, according to the Federal Trade Commission, the companies agreed to pay a $5 million fine. Source
Though the commercials eventually faded, Miss Cleo remained an object of cultural curiosity. In 2006, she came out as a lesbian in an interview with The Advocate, but also took the opportunity to address her lasting popularity.
“People give me mad love, sweetheart,” she said. “They’ll say: ‘Do you see anything? Where do we find you? When are you coming back? We miss you.’ I get a lot of love.”
Tony Shaff, who worked as a psychic reader on Ms. Cleo’s hotline for about six weeks in 2001 and interviewed her for “Hotline,” his 2014 documentary about telephone relationships between strangers, said that although she was not charged with a crime, she was hurt that her reputation had been harmed by the lawsuit.
In an interview for “Hotline,” Miss Cleo’s Jamaican accent remained as she broke into tears. “Those people are not the bad guys, even if they weren’t great psychics,” she said of herself and other hotline workers, who she said made between 12 and 24 cents a minute. Source
Rest in peace, Miss Cleo.
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