Miss Cleo dies at 53 The pay-per-call psychic icon had cancer

Say what you want about the veracity of extrasensory perception, Miss Cleo was an icon. She died Tuesday, according to TMZ, after succumbing to cancer. She was 53.

During her heyday in the late ’90s, Miss Cleo, born Youree Harris, was everywhere. Her over-the-top commercials and outsized character were the stuff American dreams are made of and the judgmental tarot card shuffling and raw dog advice made it must-see-TV. Miss Cleo, who is the father of my baby? Well, she’s got an answer for that.

Her “Call me now!” tagline was a frequent chorus in high school locker rooms, and in an era in which programs like The Jerry Springer Show were in their heyday, her shtick genuinely wasn’t that ridiculous. Check this out, a classic from 2002, which by the way is far later than I realized she was even still doing this. She was often parodied in pop culture, as well. People would even call other places claiming to be her, prank calling folks with taglines from a soundboard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdOFIqTHP_E

Basically, as far as snake-oil salespersons go, she was as legit as it gets. Of course, in the end, it all fell apart when the Federal Trade Commission came after her company for various shady and illegal actions of all types. She eventually settled, but by that point her time with the Psychic Readers Network was done. It was a strong hustle while it lasted.

https://twitter.com/ira/status/758005278499409920

Anyway, Miss Cleo will always hold a special place in our hearts and taught a sometimes valuable lesson for anyone trying to be successful in show business: Fake it till you make it.

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