The Disney legend and two-time Oscar winner was 95

Disney legend Richard M. Sherman, one half of the Academy Award-winning songwriting team the Sherman Brothers, along with his late brother, legend Robert B. Sherman, died today at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of Beverly Hills at age 95 following an age-related illness. .

Sherman was a key member of Walt Disney’s inner circle of creative talent. He received nine Academy Award nominations (including two Oscars for his work on the 1964 film). Mary Poppins), won three Grammy Awards and received 24 gold and platinum albums during his 65-year career.

Richard and his brother were inducted into Disney Legends in 1990.

The Sherman Brothers were perhaps best known for their work on Mary Poppinsfor which they won the Academy Awards for Best Music – Substantially Original and Best Original Song for Chim Chim Cher-ee.

Another darling song from the film, Supercalifragilisticexpialidociousbecame a pop hit, entering the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965, while the lullaby Feed the birds became one of Walt’s favorite songs.

“Richard Sherman embodied what it means to be a Disney legend, creating with his brother Robert the beloved classics that have become a treasured part of the soundtrack of our lives,” said Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “Films like Mary Poppins And The jungle Book to attractions like ‘the world is small‘, the music of the Sherman Brothers has captured the hearts of generations of audiences. We are forever grateful for the mark Richard left on the world and extend our deepest condolences to his family.

Pete Docter, chief creative officer of Pixar Animation Studios, said: “You don’t get songs like spoonful of sugar without a true love of life, which Richard passed on to all those lucky enough to be around him. Even at 90, he had more energy and enthusiasm than anyone, and I always came away renewed by Richard’s contagious joie de vivre.

Born June 12, 1928, in New York, the Sherman family moved to Beverly Hills in 1937. Richard attended Beverly Hills High School before majoring in music at Bard College. Enlisted in the U.S. Army, he served as conductor for the Army Band and Glee Club from 1953 to 1955.

In 1951, Gene Autry was the first to record a Sherman Brothers song, Gold can buy you everything except love. But the songwriters’ big break didn’t come until seven years later, when Mouseketeer (and future Disney legend) Annette Funicello recorded their song, Big Paul. This track peaked at number 7 on the charts, selling over 700,000 singles.

The success of these songs attracted the attention of Walt Disney, who hired the Sherman brothers as songwriters for Walt Disney Studios. Soon they will contribute to feature films such as The distracted teacher (1961), The parental trap (1961), Summer magic (1963), The sword in the stone (1963), Mary Poppins (1964), This damn cat! (1965), Winnie the Pooh and the honey tree (1966), The jungle Book (1967), The happiest millionaire (1967), The Aristocats (1970), and Bed knobs and brooms (1971). They ultimately wrote more than 200 songs for some 27 films and 24 television productions.

They have also contributed music to a number of theme park attractions around the world, including There is a big and beautiful tomorrow, the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room, And The world is small.

In the early 1970s, the Sherman brothers left Walt Disney Studios to pursue other film projects. They provided songs and occasional scripts for such memorable family films as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), Snoopy comes home (1972), Charlotte’s website (1973), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1973), Blueberry Finn (1974), and The slipper and the rose (1976).

The Sherman brothers made history in 1973 when they became the only Americans to win 1st prize at the Moscow Film Festival. The Russian equivalent of the Oscar was awarded to the Sherman brothers for their musical film, The Adventures of Tom Sawyerfor which they wrote the script and songs.

In 1976, The slipper and the rose was selected for the annual performance of the Royal Command of Great Britain. This film also features the storyline and music of a song by the Sherman Brothers.

In 1992, Walt Disney Records released a retrospective collection of their music, The Sherman Brothers: Disney’s Supercalifragilist Songwriting Team. The brothers returned to the studio in 1998 to compose music for The Tigger movie. That year, they also wrote their autobiography, Walt’s Time: Back and Forward.

In 2009, a second compilation of hits, The Sherman Brothers Songbookwas released and their life stories were told in the documentary film The Boys: The Story of the Sherman Brothers (directed by Richard’s son, Gregory V. Sherman, in collaboration with Robert’s son, Jeffrey Sherman).

In 2005, Richard and Robert were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Three years later, the brothers were awarded the National Medal of Arts, “for unforgettable songs and upbeat lyrics that brought magic to the screen and stage.” The Sherman Brothers’ music has helped bring joy to millions of people.

During the ceremony, held at the White House, First Lady Laura Bush said: “These medals recognize great contributions to art, music, theater, literature, history and general scholarship…Recipients of the National Medal of Arts represent the entire American population. the creativity and depth of the human spirit.

In 2010, Richard and fellow award-winning composer John Debney collaborated on the song See you tomorrow today for Marvel Studios Iron Man 2. That same year, The Walt Disney Company praised the Sherman Brothers for their musical contributions to Disney parks around the world. They were honored with their own “window” on Main Street, USA (at Disneyland Park in California), which reads: “Two Tunemakers Brothers – Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman: We will write your tunes for a song. .”

Richard was preceded in death by his brother in 2012. The following year, actors BJ Novak and Jason Schwartzman played Robert and Richard, respectively, in Saving Mr. Banks (2013), a dramatized account of the making of Mary Poppins.

Five years later, Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California renamed the stage A the Sherman Brothers Stage. At the time, Richard said: “It has been a joy, an honor and a privilege to work here at Walt Disney Studios, to work for Walt Disney and for all the bright and brilliant people that Bob and I have associated with. over the years.”

In 2015, a special show recounting his life, Richard M. Sherman: Songs of a Life, produced by Disney Legend Don Hahn, debuted on PBS SoCal. Also in 2015, for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, Richard contributed the song A kiss good night, which was linked to his 2017 book of the same title from Disney Editions.

For Walt Disney Studios, Richard wrote new lyrics for the live-action The jungle Book (2016) and two years later published in Christophe Robinfor which he composed three new songs.

Most recently, Richard wrote a new song (with composer Fabrizio Mancinelli) for Disney legend Andreas Deja’s 2023 animated short film, Mushka. The song, Mouchka’s lullabywas sung by soprano Holly Sedillos.

In 2023, Walt Disney Animation Studios revisited its 100-year history in short films Once upon a time there was a studio. Richard returned to Walt’s office, the same place where he and Robert often performed Feed the birds for Walt on Friday afternoon – to play piano in a key sequence.

Richard is survived by his wife of 66 years, Elizabeth; his son Gregory and his grandsons William and Matthew; his daughter Victoria Wolf, his son-in-law Doug Wolf and his grandchildren Mandy and Anthony. He is also survived by his daughter from a previous marriage, Lynda Rothstein, as well as his two children and three grandchildren.

A private funeral is scheduled to take place on Friday, May 31, at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary in Los Angeles. Celebration of life plans will be announced at a later date.


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