Welcome to the Ending Explained for Call Me Miss Cleo, the latest documentary coming to HBO Max based on true events. The documentary tells the story of Miss Cleo, a famous TV psychic who became a phenomenon thanks to her tarot readings on TV. The documentary follows the character of Miss Cleo from her conception to her ultimate demise and all the many issues she had to overcome throughout her brief but unforgettable time on television.
The documentary follows every single convention of the genre and really does nothing different in trying to tell her story. The documentary uses multiple examples of archive footage and several interviews with many of the people who were close to Cleo in life. There are also interviews with many members of her legal team when she found herself in legal trouble for the phone scam that used her image. It is a really fascinating but tragic story.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for Call Me Miss Cleo. Read at your own risk.
How Did Miss Cleo Become TV’s Favorite Psychic?
Miss Cleo, as we knew her, was only a character created by Youree Dell Harris. As an actress, Youree began several projects throughout her career, but none of them received enough exposure to transform her into someone famous overnight. At least for now, until she landed a job at the Psychic Readers Network. At first, she was only a consultant, but then she quickly put herself forward as a creative force within the network until she finally got the chance to be the lead in her own commercial.
It is here that she developed the character of Miss Cleo, a very powerful psychic who managed not only to read your fortune but also managed to give you counsel in many areas of life. Cleo’s casual and friendly demeanor transformed her into a beloved character for the network and for the audience, who really wanted to talk to her. And so, the problems began unnoticed, as the network would charge outrageous quantities of money for a phone call lasting just a dozen minutes.
Cleo’s stardom was just beginning, and she was being transformed into a very powerful personality on TV and radio. She was gaining fans each day, and the network seized the opportunity to expand its services by hiring many other psychics that could satisfy the demand for psychic readings. Many of the people hired for such a job were not even psychics and received absolutely no training for the performance of their duties. It didn’t matter, though, the phone call just kept coming, and it was clear that for some people, it was important just to have someone to talk to.
What Happened With Miss Cleo?
While the business was a success, it wasn’t long before the complaints started to appear. You see, all of a sudden, many people started to be charged for phone calls they never made. Parents would get upset when the phone bill came after their kids had made the phone calls to the psychic phone line. And more than anything, there were a lot of people upset about being charged hundreds of dollars for a phone call that was being advertised as free during the TV commercials.
The media soon started to pile on Cleo, even when the truth was that what they called “her fraud and scam” was anything but, as Cleo was only the image of the company, but not the leader of it. The owners of the company managed to get out of the high water unscathed as they were never exposed to the media and only had to pay a couple of millions to make the lawsuits go away. A small fee when they had made at least one billion dollars thanks to Cleo and her character.
Cleo then became reclusive and stayed away from all media and social life. It was only later that, thanks to some good friends, she started to become more open to people once again. She managed to come out as a lesbian in 2006 and became an activist for LGBT rights in the state of Florida. However, for all the good things that came later in her life, Cleo didn’t manage to avoid sickness, as she developed cancer and died in 2016 at the age of 53. She was done wrongly by the media, but even today, there are countless people who remember her fondly.