By M. Brooks, blackdoctor.org
Miss Cleo, iconic face and voice of the Psychic Readers Network in the ’90s, has died at the age of 53, reports confirm.
A representative of the television psychic, born Youree Harris, told Fox411 that Harris died following a “valiant battle with cancer in Palm Beach, Florida, surrounded by family and close friends.”
According to TMZ, sources stated Harris was originally diagnosed with colon cancer and it spread to her liver and lungs.
African Americans have the highest colon (colorectal) cancer incidence and mortality rates of all racial groups in the United States, the American Cancer Society reports.
Harris was born in Los Angeles and later made a name for herself – literally and figuratively – as Miss Cleo, a headwrap-wearing, tell it like it is television psychic known for her questionable Jamaican accent and the catchphrase, “Call me now!”
When asked by Vice.com in 2014 how she got into the business, Miss Cleo explained:
I come from a family of spooky people. I don’t know how else to say it. I come from a family of Obeah—which is another word for voodoo. My teacher was Haitian, [a mambo] born in Port-au-Prince, and I studied under her for some 30 years and then became a mambo myself. So they refer to me as psychic—because the word voodoo scares just about everybody. So they told me, “No, no, no, we can’t use that word; we’re going to call you a psychic.” I said, “But I’m not a psychic!”
Miss Cleo, a mother of two, worked with the Psychic Readers Network until 2003, when the network folded following a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation, and voiced a character in the “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” video game.
Take a look at one of Miss Cleo’s memorable commercials below.