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|Born||Youree Dell Harris
August 12, 1962
Los Angeles, California
|Known for||Phone/TV psychic|
Youree Dell Harris (born August 12, 1962), better known as Miss Cleo, is an American psychic and alleged shaman who achieved fame as a spokeswoman for a psychic pay-per-call service from 1997 to 2003.
Harris has used aliases throughout her career, including Cleomili Harris and Youree Perris.
Early life and career
In 1996, in Seattle, Washington, Harris and her partner opened a production company which produced several of her plays. She acted in her first project, an autobiographical play entitled Women Only: A Celebration of Love, Life and Healing.
Her last project, Supper Club Cafe, was not successful, and she "left town with a trail of debts and broken promises". Some of the cast of her productions claimed that they were never paid, and that Harris "told her cast members she had bone cancer" and "her medical costs would prevent her from paying people immediately", but she wrote each actor and crew member a letter telling him or her how much money she owed them.
Psychic Readers Network
The Psychic Readers Network is said to have coined the title "Miss Cleo" and sent unsolicited emails, some of which stated, "[Miss Cleo has] been authorized to issue you a Special Tarot Reading!... it is vital that you call immediately!" Charges of deceptive advertising and of fraud on the part of the Psychic Readers Network began to surface around this time.
In 2001, Access Resource Services d/b/a Psychic Readers Network was sued in various lawsuits brought by (among others) Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Florida, and the Federal Communications Commission, although reports later said that "many customers were satisfied with the service".
In 2002, the FTC charged the company's owners and Harris' promoters, Steven Feder and Peter Stotz, with deceptive advertising, billing and collection practices; Harris was not indicted. Her promoters agreed to settle for a fraction of the amount they took in. It emerged that Harris was actually born in Los Angeles, and that her parents were U.S. citizens.
Harris voiced the character Auntie Poulet in the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
In 2003, the New York Daily News reported that TV music network Fuse had signed Harris as a spokeswoman. In early 2005, Harris was reportedly appearing on television as Miss Cleo in advertisements for a used car dealership in Florida, according to the Broward-Palm Beach New Times.
- "Miss Cleo's birth certificate". The Smoking Gun. 2002. Retrieved 2006-11-18.
- Parvaz, D. (March 2, 2002). "Miss Cleo left a trail of deception in Seattle". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2006-11-18.
- "Phone psychics' scam follows script". Erie Times-News. 1 December 2001. p. 2.
- Lithwick, Dahlia. With Psychics Like These …: The lawsuits pile up for Miss Cleo. Slate, March 26, 2002. Accessed 08 January 2008.
- Hood, James (2002-11-14). "Miss Cleo Settles for $500 Million". News (Washington, DC: ConsumerAffairs.com Inc). Retrieved 2010-03-01.
- FTC Charges "Miss Cleo" Promoters with Deceptive Advertising, Billing and Collection Practices
- Christopher, Kevin (March–April 2003). "'Miss Cleo' settles with the Federal Trade Commission – News and Comment". Skeptical Inquirer. Retrieved 2006-11-18.
- Rush and Molloy. Schumer $andbagging friends of AG?. New York Daily News, November 30, 2003. Accessed 08 January 2008. "New music network Fuse recently signed up as spokeswomen 1) televangelist Tammy Faye Messner (formerly Mrs. Jim Bakker), 2) cable porn princess Robin Byrd and 3) Youree Harris (the actress who played purported psychic "Miss Cleo" before the Federal Trade Commission shut down her $4.95-a-minute phone line)."
- Staff writer. Drink and Scoot!. Broward-Palm Beach New Times, February 5, 2005. Accessed 08 January 2008. "The Turbaned One is back. With her crystal ball and snake-oil smile, Miss Cleo (real name: Youree Harris) showed up recently on television ads for Plantation-based Uncle Mel's Used Cars."