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Legendary Disney Songwriter Richard M. Sherman Passes Away at 95

Richard M. Sherman, one half of the renowned Sherman Brothers duo, who crafted some of Disney’s most iconic and memorable songs, has passed away at the age of 95. Sherman, along with his late brother Robert, left an indelible mark on millions of childhoods through their award-winning compositions for films like “Mary Poppins,” “The Jungle Book,” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

The Voices Behind Disney’s Musical Magic

Together, the Sherman Brothers won two Academy Awards for the 1964 classic “Mary Poppins” – best score and best song for “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” They also received a Grammy for best movie or TV score. Their partnership with Disney spanned over a decade, during which they wrote more than 150 songs, including the iconic “It’s a Small World (After All).”

A Legacy of Joy and Imagination

The Walt Disney Co. paid tribute to Sherman, stating, “Generations of moviegoers and theme park guests have been introduced to the world of Disney through the Sherman brothers’ magnificent and timeless songs.” Their songs were not only catchy and playful but also worked on multiple levels, appealing to audiences of all ages – a skill they learned from Walt Disney himself.

A Lifetime of Musical Collaboration

Richard and Robert Sherman began their partnership with Disney in the 1960s, having previously written hit pop songs like “Tall Paul” and “You’re Sixteen.” Their repertoire also included Broadway musicals such as “Over Here!” and stagings of “Mary Poppins” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” in the mid-2000s.

A Celebration of Wordsmithing

The brothers credited their father, composer Al Sherman, for their love of wordsmithing and songwriting. Their legacy includes popularizing terms like “fantasmagorical” and “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” They often teased songs out of each other, brainstorming titles and trying to top each other with improvements.

A Lasting Legacy

Richard Sherman is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, two children, Gregory and Victoria, and a daughter, Lynda, from a previous marriage. A private funeral will be held on Friday, with a public celebration of life service to be announced later by Disney.

Though the brothers were estranged for a period, they largely avoided sibling rivalry, with Richard Sherman reflecting on their partnership with humor and wisdom – much like the trunkful of songs they wrote together. The passing of Richard M. Sherman marks the end of an era, but his musical legacy will continue to bring joy and imagination to generations to come.

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