For anyone who watched television in the late 1990s, there are probably only a handful of commercials that are as memorable and quotable as the Psychic Friends Network ads featuring “Miss Cleo.” Adding to the absurdity of calling a late-night telephone hotline to have your fortune read was her fake Jamaican accent and her shouted catch-phrase, “Call me now!” Everybody knew Miss Cleo.
I’m no fan of psychics, especially when they charge you per minute on a hotline number advertised on TV, but it is sad to hear that Miss Cleo, real name Youree Dell Harris (a.k.a. Rae Dell Harris or Cleomili Perris Youree or Ree Perris) died today at the age of 53 from colon cancer. Psychic schemer or not, that is way too young for any of us to go.
Miss Cleo became the face of the scandal that hit the Psychic Friends Network, when the FTC filed charges against the company. Though Miss Cleo was only a spokesperson, a character on TV, she became forever associated with the scandal. The Psychic Friends Network agreed to forgive $500 million in outstanding charges against customers, and paid $5 million in fines to the FTC.
Ms. Harris was also an actress, most notably lending her voice to the video game “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.” In 2006, she came out as being a lesbian to the Advocate. Hey lawyer stated that she died surrounded by her family and friends.