Page last updated at 12:06 GMT, Wednesday, 11 March 2009

'I Saw Mommy' singer dies at 70

Singer Jimmy Boyd, best known for the 1952 Christmas novelty hit I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, has died in California, aged 70.

Boyd was being treated for cancer at a Santa Monica hospital, his long-term friend Eleanor Pillsbury said.

I Saw Mommy shot to the top of the US charts in 1952 and went on to sell more than two million copies.

It has since been covered by artists including The Jackson Five, John Mellencamp and Amy Winehouse.

Country music star Molly Bee, who also recorded a version of the hit, died last month.

Church ban

After several appearances singing and doing comedy sketches on The Frank Sinatra Show, Boyd signed a recording contract with Columbia.

Boyd, who was 13 when he recorded the hit festive track, told Time magazine he was surprised by its success.

The record was banned by the Catholic Church on the grounds it linked sex with Christmas.

But the ban was lifted after Boyd appeared before church leaders to discuss the lyrics.

Boyd's television work included appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and comedies Date with Angels and Bachelor Father in the 1950s.

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