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, Florida, who claimed to have written the song under the name Paul Vance. The story cited the man's wife as the source for that claim.
But the music industry's real Paul Vance, a 76-year-old man from Coral Springs, Florida, 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 has been inundated with calls from people who think he died. An owner of racehorses, Vance said two of his horses were scratched from races Wednesday because people thought he had died.
"Do you know what it's like to have grandchildren calling you and say, 'Grandpa, you're still alive?' " he said in a telephone interview from Coral Springs, Florida. "This is not a game. I am who I am and I'm proud of who I am. But these phones don't stop with people calling thinking I'm dead."