The name of psychic Ms. Cleo and her famous “Call Me Now” slogan was a well known commercial during the ’90s. Her commercials were mainly seen during talk shows and soap operas and generated millions for the psychic call in line. But her career and the network all came crashing down after a scandal revealed that Ms. Cleo was a fraud.
Her real name was Youree Dell Harris and her Jamaican patois accent was fake; she was actually born and raised in Los Angeles. Her colorful outfits and down to earth ‘tell it like it is’ demeanor were carefully planned by the now defunct Psychic Readers Network. The company was the subject of a FTC complaint that alleged the company made over $1 billion through a plan of financial tricks. These included misrepresenting the nature of the “free” readings offered, failing to make required cost disclosures in ads, and threatening to report negative information to credit bureaus should a caller refuse to pay.
Harris caught a lot of negative publicity because she was the face and identity that spurred the network’s profits. However, she was just an employee of the company and was dropped from the lawsuit. The company later settled the complaint and paid an estimated $500 million in fines and restitution. Harris died on Tuesday at the age of 53 from cancer after being released from a hospice. She was initially diagnosed with colon cancer which soon spread to her liver and lungs. For years after her run as Ms. Cleo, she did occasional voiceover work including the hit video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
Harris died at her Palm Beach, Florida home surrounded by her family and friends. According to her representatives, Harris “was a pillar of strength” during her long illness.