Richard M. Sherman, prolific Disney songwriter, dies at 95

Richard M. Sherman, one half of the famous, award-winning duo of siblings who shaped countless childhoods with their creation of unforgettable songs for “Mary Poppins,” “The Jungle Book,” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” — in addition to the world’s most-played melody, “It’s a Small World (After All)” — has passed away. He was 95.

Sherman, alongside his late brother Robert, secured two Academy Awards for Walt Disney‘s 1964 hit “Mary Poppins” — best score and best song, “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” They also won a Grammy for best film or TV score. Robert Sherman passed away in London at the age of 86 in 2012.

Richard M. Sherman

Richard M. Sherman attends the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival’s opening night gala and world premiere of the restoration of “Oklahoma!” hosted at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on April 10, 2014 in Hollywood, California. 

Jennifer Lourie/FilmMagic via Getty Images

The Walt Disney Co. informed that Sherman passed away on Saturday in a Los Angeles hospital due to age-related complications.

“Generations of cinema-goers and theme park visitors have been welcomed into the world of Disney through the Sherman brothers’ beautiful and enduring compositions. Even now, the pair’s work continues to represent the ultimate lyrical essence of Walt Disney,” the company stated in a memorial posted on its website.

Their numerous joint writing credits also encompass the films “Winnie the Pooh,” “The Slipper and the Rose,” “Snoopy Come Home,” “Charlotte’s Web,” and “The Magic of Lassie.” Their Broadway shows included 1974’s “Over Here!” and stage versions of “Mary Poppins” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” in the mid-2000s.

“Good things happen when we collaborate,” Richard Sherman mentioned during a 2005 interview with Associated Press. “We’ve been doing it our whole lives. Almost since college, we’ve been working together.”

Their accolades include 23 gold and platinum records and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They were the sole Americans to win first prize at the Moscow Film Festival for “Tom Sawyer” in 1973 and were inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in 2005. President George W. Bush awarded them the National Medal of Arts in 2008, praised for music that “has helped bring happiness to millions.”

In a 2013 conversation with “CBS Sunday Morning,” Sherman shared that during the early 1960s, he and his brother had adjacent offices on the Disney lot in Burbank, just down the hall from Walt Disney.

“He (Walt Disney) called us ‘the boys.’ He disliked formality and detested being referred to as Mr. Disney; he preferred being called Walt,” Sherman revealed to “CBS Sunday Morning.”

Most of the Shermans’ songs — besides being catchy and lively — work on different levels for various age groups, a technique they learned from Disney.

“He once advised us, early in our careers, ‘Don’t underestimate the child — don’t write down to the child. And don’t write solely for the adult.’ So we write for the grandparent and the 4-year-old — and everyone in between — and all perceive it on distinct levels,” Richard Sherman shared.

The Shermans started their decade-long collaboration with Disney during the 1960s after producing popular pop songs like “Tall Paul” for former Mouseketeer Annette Funicello and “You’re Sixteen,” later recorded by Ringo Starr.

They composed over

Leave a Comment