Miss Cleo, the faux-Jamaican psychic whose ubiquitous late-night infomercials (“Call me now!”) ran on TV from 1997 – 2002, has died from colon cancer. She was 53.
A rep for Miss Cleo, born Youree Harris, tells TMZ she died Tuesday morning in Palm Beach County, FL. She was recently hospitalized, but discharged last week to a hospice center.
The rep said Cleo remained a, “pillar of strength” during her illness … and died surrounded by family and friends.
Miss Cleo was the spokesperson for the Psychic Readers Network, which was a pay-per-call psychic reading service charging $4.99 per minute for a “free reading.” In three years, it’s estimated her service billed $1 billion through 900 numbers but once the Federal Trade Commission stepped in, the company was charged with deceptive advertising, billing and collection practices and PRN had to cancel $500 million in customer bills and pay a 5 million dollar fine.
It turned out that Miss Cleo’s had never even been to Jamaica. The name was fake and so was the accent. And the psychic abilities. But to a generation of late night viewers, she remains an nostalgic icon of the era.