Richard M. Sherman, ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘The Jungle Book’ composer, dies at 95

Richard M. Sherman, ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘The Jungle Book’ composer, dies at 95

Richard M. Sherman, one half of the Sherman Brothers, who composed the songs for films including Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book, has died at the age of 95.

Richard and his brother Robert B. Sherman served as the in-house songwriters at Disney in the 1960s and won two Oscars for their work. Disney have described the duo as having been responsible for “more motion picture musical song scores than any other songwriting team in film history”.

Sherman passed away at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Saturday (May 25) of “age-related illness”, Disney confirmed.

“Richard Sherman was the embodiment of what it means to be a Disney Legend, creating along with his brother Robert the beloved classics that have become a cherished part of the soundtrack of our lives,” said Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company.

“From films like Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book to attractions like It’s a Small World, 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 we extend our deepest condolences to his family.”

Hired by Disney in 1958, the Sherman Brothers got their big break in 1964 when they penned the songs for Mary Poppins, including ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’, ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ and ‘Chim Chim Cher-ee’, the latter of which earned them an Oscar for Best Song. The brothers also picked up the Best Musical Score award at the same ceremony.

The same year, their song ‘It’s a Small World (After All)’ debuted at the New York World’s Fair as the theme for a children’s ride. It was soon transferred to Disney’s own theme parks, becoming the de facto theme of Disneyland. Time estimated that it is the most publicly performed song of all time.

The Sherman Brothers had further success in 1967 with the songs for The Jungle Book, including ‘I Wan’na Be Like You’ and ‘Trust In Me’, as well as films including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Bedknobs & Broomsticks.

Poppins author P.L. Travers had a difficult relationship with the Disney adaptation of her novel, taking particular umbrage with the sweetness of the Shermans’ songs. This was later depicted in the 2013 film Saving Mr. Banks, where Richard was portrayed by Jason Schwartzman, and B.J. Novak played Robert.

In total, the brothers earned nine Oscar nominations, four Grammy nominations (with two wins) and in 2008 they were awarded the National Medal of Arts at the White House.

Robert, who was three years older, died in 2012.

Richard married Elizabeth Gluck in 1957 and they had two children together, Gregory and Victoria.

The post Richard M. Sherman, ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘The Jungle Book’ composer, dies at 95 appeared first on NME.

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