LOS ANGELES, April 26 (UPI) -- Bobby "Boris" Pickett, who made "Monster Mash" a graveyard smash 45 years ago, has died of leukemia in Los Angeles at age 69.
The song, which made Pickett one of the great one-hit wonders of all time, hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1962 and returned to the charts in 1970 and 1973, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Thursday.
Stuart Hersh, Pickett's manager, said the singer died Wednesday night at the West Los Angeles Veterans Hospital, CBC reported. He is survived by his daughter Nancy, a sister and two grandchildren.
Pickett's impersonation of the horror movie actor Boris Karloff was the impetus for the song.
He had been using the Karloff voice while playing with his band, The Cordials. Fans liked it so much that another member of the band suggested Pickett use it in a novelty song.
It only took about a half-hour to whip it out, but "Monster Mash" wound up defining Pickett's career. He eventually embraced his fate, touring frequently, particularly around Halloween.
"When I hear it, I hear a cash register ringing," he said in a 1996 interview with People magazine.