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Report of death is an 'Itsy Bitsy Teenie' mistake

September 28, 2006|From the Associated Press

The man who co-wrote the song "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" had the unsettling experience this week of reading his own obituary -- the result of an impostor who went through life claiming to be the author of the 1960s smash hit.

On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported on the death of a 68-year-old man named Paul Van Valkenburgh of Ormond Beach, Fla., who claimed to have written the song under the name Paul Vance.

But the music industry's real Paul Vance, a 76-year-old man from Coral Springs, Fla., is alive and well, and says the other Paul Vance appears to have made the whole thing up.

The Paul Vance who wrote the songs -- and provided proof with royalty payments he is still receiving for the hit -- said he had been inundated with calls from people who think he died. He estimated he had made several million dollars from the song, which was recorded by 16-year-old teen idol Brian Hyland, surged to No. 1 on the Billboard charts in August 1960 and has been a pop culture staple ever since.

Rose Leroux, the widow of the man who died, said she was surprised by the disclosure, and "kind of devastated."

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