Written by: Alex Green
Miss Cleo, the psychic shaman from Jamaica has died.
She was 53.
She was not, however, a psychic, a shaman or from Jamaica.
An aspiring playwright and actress with a preternatural gift for nailing accents, Misc Cleo was actually the L.A.-born Youree Dell Harris.
After signing with the Psychic Readers Network, Harris and the network created the Miss Cleo character and she began appearing in informercials for the company, wherein she spoke in a flawless Jamaican accent and claimed to be able to tell people their destinies.
In a pay-per-call setting, of course.
But business is business and a job is a job and the fact remains that Miss Cleo, who remained on the network for six years, is a permanent and affectionately remembered cultural artifact of the 1990’s.
Harris went on to voice the Auntie Poulet character for the 2002 version of Grand Theft Auto.
The following year she had reportedly signed with Fuse TV, and in 2005 she brought back the Miss Cleo character for a used car business in Florida.
Inexplicably, Harris had more aliases than Chevy Chase’s Fletch–she was known as LaShawnda Williams, Corvette Mama, Elenore St. Julian, Desiree Canterlaw, Janet Snyder, Maria Delcampo, Christina Garcia, Cleomili Harris and Youree Perris.
Harris died of cancer in Florida late Monday night.