Jimmy Boyd, who at the age of twelve gained fame singing "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," passed on March 7 at the age of 70. The cause was cancer.
Jimmy Boyd was born January 9, 1939 in on a farm near McComb, Mississippi. His family would eventually settle in Riverside, California. Boyd was exposed to music early. His grandfather was a fiddler well know in the McComb area. His father started teaching to play guitar and harmonica when he was only four. By age seven Boyd was already performing at dances. Country band leader Texas Jim Lewis was present at one of Boyd's performances and immediately signed him up for his radio show. Boyd would eventually win The Al Jarvis Talent Show on KLAC-TV, Los Angeles. This lead to regular appearances on Al Jarvis's daily talk show (which also numbered Betty White among its regulars).
It was shortly afterwards that Boyd recorded "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." The song proved to be one of the smash hits of 1952, selling 2.5 million copies in only a matter of weeks. Surprisingly, the song originally provoked some controversy. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston condemned the song for blending sex with Christmas, at least until it was made obvious that "Santa Claus" was actually Daddy in a suit. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" would give Boyd a brief bit of stardom. He appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, Space Patrol, and shows hosted by everyone from Dinah Shore to Perry Como.
Boyd's success would lead to appearances in both movies and on television shows. He appeared in the films Racing Blood and The Second Greatest Sex before being cast as Huckleberry Finn in two episodes of The United States Steel Hour ("Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" respectively). He guest starred on the show Date With the Angels and appeared in the films Platinum High School, Inherit the Wind, High Time, and The Two Little Bears. From 1958 to 1962 he was a regular on Bachelor Father as Howard Meachum. Boyd would go onto make guest appearances on My Three Sons, Broadside, and Batman. He would appear in the movies Norwood, That's the Way of the World, and Brainstorm.