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Actress who played TV psychic Miss Cleo dies of cancer at 53

28 July 2016

Cleo's Jamaican character and her psychic commercials became a cult classic in the late '90s. thanks to her catchphrase, "CALL ME NOW!".

Harris, 53, was surrounded by family and close friends when she died in Palm Beach, Florida, said attorney William J. Cone.

Youree Harris, the call-in psychic known as Miss Cleo.

Once her days with Psychic Readers Network were over, Miss Cleo picked up various entertainment jobs.

Born Youree Harris in Los Angeles in 1962, Cleo became a cultural icon as the spokeswoman for Psychic Readers Network, where she starred in infomercials as a Jamaican psychic, replete with accent, who used tarot card readings to advise individuals who used the pay-per-call service on their futures. The "Miss Cleo" character was the property of Access Resource Services, based in Fort Lauderdale.

"Miss Cleo does have quite the folk hero cast to her, and it was an interesting choice by General Mills to bring her back to promote cereal. This boy is going to force me to put my money where my mouth is".

But it was Harris' turn as the advice-dishing Miss Cleo in the 1990s that changed her life.

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"RIP Miss Cleo. I'll never forget the time when I was 7 years old and called for my fortune".

Despite her fall from popularity, companies often came to her to be a spokesperson. "I had a bad contract". But he was afraid of nothing, and I thought, I can't be a hypocrite.

In 2006, after leaving the limelight, she gained attention for coming out as a lesbian. She had two daughters.

In the following years, she voiced a character in "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" and appeared in a documentary called "Hotline". "That was really intense", she said. She also acted in the play, starring as a Jamaican woman named Cleo. "I really believed they were my friends".

"The reason it's scary is because in my personal experience, black cultures throughout the world have a more hard time accepting homosexuality in their family", said Harris, who at the age of 19 gave birth to a daughter before she and her husband divorced when she was 21.

"What I loved watching was - and what (was) most poignant for me - was the connection I made with other people that were featured in the film", she told IndieWire after the its premiere. "I've had people come up to me - there's a big controversy about 'Miss Cleo is not Jamaican", right?'"