70 (passed away Mar. 7th, 2009)
Jan. 9th, 1939
McComb, Mississippi, USA
Jimmy Boyd's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Boyd showed he had comedic talents in recurring roles in the television series Bachelor Father (as Howard Meechum, the boyfried of the Noreen Corcoran character), Date with the Angels, The Betty White Show, Broadside (in the role of Marion Botnik), and My Three Sons. He also appeared in a number of motion pictures, including Inherit the Wind (1960).
At the time, Jimmy was the youngest entertainer ever allowed to appear in Las Vegas, starring at the famed Sands Hotel's "Copa Room" at age thirteen during Sinatra's "Rat Pack" era. On Jimmy's opening night show he was applauded back onstage by the audience for multiple encores. With the audience still cheering and whistling, Sand's boss, Jack Entratter, standing backstage, caught Jimmy and stopped him from going back on stage after his third encore. Entratter asked Jimmy if he could please go back for only one encore during his performances, and explained that it was nearly two o'clock in the morning and that the hotel needed the people to go back to the casino and gamble. Jimmy also appeared at the Golden Hotel in Reno, Nevada.
Boyd, along with his music, did stand-up comedy. He had the unique ability even at his young age to ad-lib relevant, clever one-liners that endeared him to his audiences. He played the theater circuit for several years that was popular at that time—including The Capital, Paramount, and Seville theaters in New York City, Chicago, Hartford, Montreal, and Toronto. Following entertainers such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee, Frankie Laine, Johnnie Ray and Eddie Fisher with his own show, he performed at 90,000 seat-plus venues such as Soldiers Field, The Rubber Bowl, The Plantation, Red Rocks and others, in Chicago, Ohio, Colorado, Hawaii and Canada, along with hundreds of one-nighters on the road throughout the U.S., Canada, and England.
A seasoned performer at fourteen, he took time off to return to Hollywood to star in a horse racing movie called Racing Blood for 20th Century Fox. Jimmy found Hollywood to be far less grueling than life on the road. At sixteen years of age he returned to Hollywood again to appear in The Second Greatest Sex with Jeanne Crain, George Nader, and Bert Lahr for Universal Pictures. Then it was on to New York to do a musical version of Tom Sawyer for The United States Steel Hour on CBS, with Florence Henderson as Becky. The next year he was asked back to do the title role in The United States Steel Hour's musical version of Huckleberry Finn, co-starring with Basil Rathbone and Jack Carson as the carpetbaggers.
Not wanting to go on the road again, and enjoying doing TV and movies, Jimmy hung up his guitar at least temporarily and started having fun as a regular on comedy shows like Date With The Angels, The Betty White Show on ABC, Bachelor Father with John Forsythe, and Broadside. He starred with Mickey Rooney, Terry Moore, Dan Duryea and Yvette Mimieux in the film Platinum High School for MGM. Boyd was shooting Bachelor Father with Forsythe and simultaneously filming Inherit the Wind with Spencer Tracy, Gene Kelly and Fredric March for Universal Studios. Boyd co-starred on Broadway in Neil Simon's play Star Spangled Girl with George Hamilton and Deana Martin. Neil Simon's brother Danny Simon stated, "Initially Jimmy didn't want to do Star Spangled Girl. It meant he would have to leave L.A. for a year, and he wasn't sure he wanted to do the same show night after night. Neil and I took him out to dinner and coerced him into it. Jimmy got rave reviews, and was glad he did the play."
- He was born to a struggling farm family in the Depression. His family eventually moved to California.
- His father started giving him guitar and harmonica lessons when he was 4. A few years later, Jimmy was performing at barn dances.
- Son with Anne Forrey, Devon.
- A country-western band-leader, 'Texas Jim Lewis' (qv), heard Jimmy sing and hired him for his Saturday-night radio show. Jimmy won a radio talent show in Los Angeles and got the contract to record "I Saw Mommy...".
- Recorded the Christmas novelty hit "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" in 1952 when he was 13. Three weeks after the Yuletide kiss-and-tell was released, the song was #1 on the Billboard charts. It sold 2 million records in less than 10 weeks. Recorded at the urging of Columbia record executive 'Mitch Miller (I)' (qv), the tune made "something of an overnight national musical figure" of the vocalist, a "freckle-patch" who lived in Van Nuys, CA, Time magazine reported in 1952. Even Boyd himself was surprised by the song's success. "I like it personally," he told Time, "but I didn't think anyone would buy it." From a big musical family - Boyd's grandfather was known in Mississippi as Fiddler Bill.
- A classmate, 'Molly Bee' (qv), who also recorded the hit song "I saw Mommie Kissing Santa Claus," died on 7 February 2009.
- His recording of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" was #1 on the Billboard pop music chart for 2 weeks (27 December 1952 - 3 January 1953).
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