Miss Cleo, the self-proclaimed psychic whose commercials were everywhere a couple of decades ago, has died of cancer at age 53, according to TMZ.
Youree Harris (her real name) wasn’t a psychic. She wasn’t even Jamaican. But damn did she nail that accent to the point where a lot of people fell for her pitch to “Call me now!”
Actually born in Los Angeles, Cleo maintained her television personality until 2003 — when [Psychic Readers Network] collapsed under a federal probe……
Despite fallout from the Psychic Readers Network’s demise at the hands of the Federal Trade Commission — a suit later settled out of court — Cleo said she still had callers as of just a few years ago.
“I have clients in New Zealand, Australia, a few here in Toronto, a bunch all over the US, Jamaica, obviously,” she told Vice. “Honey, that’s how I make my money. I’ve got kids and grandchildren; I like being able to help.”
Cue everyone making jokes about how she didn’t see this coming…
I’ll give her this: She knew she was an entertainer who didn’t have any real powers. She was playing a game to make some money.
There’s no telling, however, how many desperate people called her network because they were fooled by her act and had nowhere else to turn. And that’s the depressing part of her legacy — and the legacy of anyone else who pitches pseudoscience or televangelist-style religious blessings. What may be a job for them has the potential to seriously ruin lives.