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(Photo Courtesy: The Walt Disney Company)

Musical Theater Songwriter Richard M. Sherman has Died, Aged 95

Sherman wrote songs for films and musicals such as Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

 

The composer Richard M. Sherman, who was best known for the songs he wrote for musical films such as Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, has passed away at the age of 95.

Sherman and his brother, Robert B. Sherman, worked as in-house songwriters for Disney, having made a name for themselves when their 1958 hit "Tall Paul" became popular.

The pair were undoubtedly most beloved for their work on Mary Poppins (1964), for which they won two Oscars: Best Score – Substantially Original, and Best Original Song for “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” Another well-known song from the film, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” became a huge hit, and entered the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. Notably, their lullaby “Feed the Birds” was allegedly an all-time favorite of Walt Disney.

Over the course of his life, Sherman received nine Academy Award nominations and three GRAMMY Awards. In addition, 24 of his albums went gold and platinum during his 65-year career.

The Shermans were credited as joint lyricist and composer on hundreds of films, including Winnie the Pooh, The Slipper and the Rose, Snoopy Come Home, Charlotte's Web, and The Magic of Lassie.

Their Broadway musicals included 1974's Over Here! as well as mid-2000s stagings of Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

"The Sherman brothers were professional optimists who found a perfect patron in Walt Disney," said Leonard Maltin, film historian, author, and educator. "Their songs had an upbeat outlook that spilled over into Richard’s life, which was not without its troubles and challenges."

"He was especially proud that he and his brother carried on a songwriting career like their father, who encouraged them early on."

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