In case you couldn’t tell from the millions of “I wonder if she saw it coming” jokes on Twitter and everywhere else, the legendary Miss Cleo (born name: Youree Dell Harris) has died. Miss Cleo died at a hospital in Palm Beach County, Florida this morning. She was only 53 years old.
Miss Cleo’s rep tells TMZ that she was battling that mega asshole cancer and checked into a hospice center last week. Miss Cleo was surrounded by her friends and family at the time of her death.
The iconic TV psychic and Joanne the Scammer’s inspiration made the 90s a lot more fun. Youree Harris, who was born and raised in the US, slapped a manufactured Jamaican accent on her tongue to play “Miss Cleo” in a series of masterpiece commercials for the Psychic Readers Network from around 1997 to 2003. Miss Cleo quickly became a pop culture icon. Miss Cleo left Psychic Readers Network after the Federal Trade Commission charged the company and her with deceptive advertising, among other things. Miss Cleo was never indicted.
Once she left PRN, Miss Cleo mainly stayed out of the spotlight, but she did voice the character of Auntie Poulet in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City in 2002 and she publicly come out as a lesbian in 2006. And in 2014, Miss Cleo made a comeback of sorts. She was in the documentary Hotline and starred in a commercial for French Toast Crunch (screen shot above). The Psychic Readers Network later sued Youree for that commercial claiming that they own the rights to “Miss Cleo.”
She spoke to Vice in 2014 about her career and back then, she said she was still working as a phone psychic and had customers from all over the world:
Oh, yeah, my clients are international, sweetie. I have clients in New Zealand, Australia, a few here in Toronto, a bunch all over the US, Jamaica, obviously. Honey, that’s how I make my money. I’ve got kids and grandchildren; I like being able to help.
A piece of my teen self who used to live for watching Miss Cleo commercials in the morning after “calling in sick” to school has died today along with Miss Cleo. I’m going to need 2016 to call me now, so I can curse that bitch out for taking all of our legends.
Rest in peace, Miss Cleo.