Legendary Disney composer dies at 95

Richard M Sherman wrote iconic songs for films including Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang


Richard M Sherman (Photo: Disney)

The composer Richard M Sherman, who wrote songs for Disney film classics such as Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang has died aged 95 in Los Angeles.

Sherman wrote with his late brother Robert. They won two Oscars in 1965 for their work on Mary Poppins.

The Sherman brothers were the sons of Al Sherman, a Jewish immigrant from Russia who became a Tin Pan Alley songwriter, and Rosa (Dancis) Sherman, an actress

Some of the brothers' best-known songs include the Jungle Book's Trust in Me and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang's Truly Scrumptious, as well as Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins.

Sherman passed away "due to age-related illness" at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The Aristocats, Bedknobs and Broomsticks and the Winnie the Pooh shorts were among other Disney productions to feature their words and music.

Pete Docter, Chief Creative Officer, Pixar Animation Studios, said, “You don’t get songs like ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ without a genuine love of life, which Richard passed on to everyone lucky enough to be around him. Even in his 90s he had more energy and enthusiasm than anyone, and I always left renewed by Richard’s infectious joy for life.”

“The Sherman brothers were professional optimists who found a perfect patron in Walt Disney. Their songs had an upbeat outlook that spilled over into Richard’s life, which was not without its troubles and challenges,” said Leonard Maltin, film historian, author, and educator. “He was especially proud that he and his brother carried on a songwriting career like their father, who encouraged them early on.”

The Sherman brothers were portrayed in the 2013 film Saving Mr. Banks, which told the story behind the making of Mary Poppins. They were played by Jason Schwartzman and B. J. Novak. The film was released in 2012, a year after the death of Robert Sherman.

Richard Sherman was born in New York City on 12 June 1928. The family moved west in the mid 1930s.

He and his brother were hired by Walt Disney himself and worked directly with him for almost a decade. He was recognised with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and 24 gold and platinum albums.

Sherman continued to write music into old age. Last year he wrote a new song with composer Fabrizio Mancinelli for Disney Legend Andreas Deja's animated short film Mushka.

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