Sanaa Lathan latest role embodies one of the late ’90s iconic figures - Miss Cleo.
Lathan will star as Miss Cleo in the new drama series. As Deadline reports, Legendary Entertainment is developing the project, Miss Cleo, with Lathan as an executive producer. Former Sony Pictures Television head of drama Sharon Hall, who exec produced The Expanse, is also executive producing the project through her Mom de Guerre Productions.
Miss Cleo was otherwise known as Youree Dell Harris, an actress best known for portraying the spokeswoman for a psychic pay-per-call-minute service called Psychic Readers Networks in a series of commercials between 1997 and 2003. Her tagline was “Call me now!”
Harris’s fame went away in 2002 once the Psychic Readers Networks was charged with deceptive advertising, billing and collection practices, according to Deadline. Even though Harris was not indicted on these charges, she did agree to pay $5 million as a fine. Also as part of the agreement, the victims’ debt–totaling a whopping $500 million–was expunged. Harris died in July 2016 a 53.
During the trial, it was revealed that Miss Cleo was actually from Los Angeles and faked her Jamaican accent. Harris’ reputation was subsequently tarnished.
In 2022, when Max released Call Me Miss Cleo — the documentary based on her life — her former makeup artist AnnDee Rucker said to the Los Angeles Times, “How they portrayed Cleo destroyed her. They took her identity. They took her name. They sensationalized her. They villainized her. Of course, that had an effect on her. How could it not?”