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Youree Del Cleomill Harris, Famed TV Psychic Miss Cleo, Dies at 53 After Cancer Fight

Youree Del Cleomill Harris, who became a celebrity as hotline "psychic" Miss Cleo, died Tuesday after a battle with cancer, her lawyer said.

She was 53.

Harris died in Palm Beach County, Florida, surrounded by family and friends, attorney William Cone Jr. told NBC News. She had recently left the hospital for hospice care.

"She remained a pillar of strength throughout," Cone said in a statement. "She has touched so many lives, both within her family and in the community. She will be dearly missed by us all."

Famous for her commercials from TV psychic, Miss Cleo died Tuesday at age 53. Youtube

Harris gained notoriety in the late 1990s as the face of the Psychic Readers Network, wearing colorful headdresses and speaking in a thick — and fake — Jamaican accent.

"Callers" would ask her advice about failed relationships or faulty paternity tests.

"You can't fool Miss Cleo!" the commercials reassured, as she flipped over tarot cards and touted her otherworldly powers.

She ended each ad with a lilting command: "Call me now!"

And people did. In a revealing interview with VICE News in 2014, Harris said the company took in $24 million a month for two years.

Her pay, however, was paltry in comparison, she said.

"For the first 30-minute infomercial I did for them, I made $1,750 for the two and a half days on set," she added. "I had a bad contract."

When she wasn't shooting commercials, she said, she actually did take calls, getting paid 24 cents per minute. It was still a better deal than the 14 cents per minute that her supposedly clairvoyant colleagues took in, she reasoned.

The Los Angeles-born Harris admitted to playing a character for the infomercials, and had a background as a playwright — not a Jamaican soothsayer as the now-defunct Psychic Readers Network heralded her as.

"They didn't want people to know anything. They wanted people to think I just came fresh from Jamaica," she told VICE, insisting she was of Jamaican heritage.

"They spent a lot of time trying to make me into something that I completely was not. I speak perfect English," she continued. "When you grow up in America and you're Caribbean, your parents beat it into you that the only way to succeed is by dropping the patois."

The hotline company and its later incarnation was sued and accused of deceptive practices before the owners settled with the Federal Trade Commission in 2002.

Related: Famous Psychic, Television Personality Sylvia Browne Dies at 77

That same year, Harris, who had been heavily lampooned on late-night TV, found another sort of role: a job voicing a Miss Cleo-like character on the popular video game series, "Grand Theft Auto."

Those who knew her from her theater days in Seattle said she groomed the island voice in a play she wrote called "For Women Only," the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported in 2002.

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

She told The Advocate that she was terrified about being public about her sexuality.

"When I came out to a number of friends in the late '80s I had a number of friends who turned their backs on me and walked away," she said. "That was really intense. I really believed they were my friends."

Although Harris fessed up to Miss Cleo being a character, she still insisted she had a gift and worked as a spiritual adviser. On Instagram, she called herself a "seer."

"If you just want to know about tomorrow, go pay a dime-store gypsy. I'm not the one," she told The Advocate in a 2007 interview. "Some of my clients have been with me 10 years, long before I hit television and well after. They were glad for TV to go away because they said it was impossible to get an appointment!"

In the end, Miss Cleo made Harris a celebrity of sorts — one that she grew to embrace. She was the subject of the 2014 documentary, "Hotline," which followed hotline workers and their clients. The experience of seeing herself was eye-opening, she said.

"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 film's premiere. "It really touched me. I'm tickled."