Lee Pockriss, who wrote novelty pop hits such as "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" for an eager, youthful post-World War II generation, has died in Connecticut after a long illness. He was 87. His wife, Sonja Pockriss, confirmed his death. She says he died at home in Bridgewater on Monday.
In a 2006 interview, Pockriss' songwriting partner Paul Vance called "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" - about a shy young woman in a skimpy bathing suit - a "money machine." The novelty song, co-written with Vance, was first released in 1960 by Brian Hyland and rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 that year.
The track has been covered several times over the years, namely by Devo, Perry Como and by Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy for the 1993 "Muppet Beach Party" album.
Pockriss, who also worked in musical theater ("Gatsby," "Tovarich"), co-wrote several other songs with Vance, including 1957's "Catch a Falling Star." He also penned several memorable tunes for "Sesame Street," including "My Polliwog Ways" and "My Rock."
The New York Times says Lee Julian Pockriss was born on Jan. 20, 1924, in Brooklyn. He served during World War II as a cryptographer in the South Pacific.
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