Disney Musician Richard Sherman Has Died at Age 95

Disney Musician Richard Sherman Has Died at Age 95

Disney announced revered composer Richard Sherman passed away on Saturday from “age-related illnesses.” He was 95 years old.

Dubbed a “key member” of Walt Disney’s creative inner circle, Sherman was born on June 12, 1928. He and his older brother Robert (who passed in 2012) were part of a double act called the Sherman Brothers that started writing songs together after being challenged by their father Al, himself a popular songwriter. Robert founded the Music World Corporation in 1958, which would come to work with Disney’s broadcast music company Wonderland. The success of the brothers’ single “Tall Paul” (as sung by Mouseketeer Annette Funicello) drew Walt Disney’s attention, and he hired them on as songwriters for Walt Disney Studios. It was there the pair created and released “It’s a Small World After All” for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and it’d be played throughout in Disney theme parks, eventually becoming one of, if not the most, popular songs for the company.

Over the decades, Richard and Robert made songs that would go on to shape and define Disney.“Supercalifragliciousexpialidocious” in Mary Poppins and I Wan’na Be Like You” in The Jungle Book remain some of their best-known songs to this day behind “Small World,” and the duo had other films like The Sword in the Stone, The Aristocats, and The Parent Trap (both the 1961 and 1998 versions) under their belt. And that’s just from Disney: after going freelance following Walt’s death in 1966, the brothers also made music for Charlotte’s Web and Snoopy: Come Home.

Between them, the Sherman brothers are said to have written 1,000 songs and pieces of music across 50 movies. They’re also considered to be the writers of the most movie musical songs in all of film history. Both men would rack up plenty of awards and nominations, and Richard specifically won three Grammys and saw 24 of his albums go gold or platinum.

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

Added film historian Leonard Maltin, 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. He was especially proud that he and his brother carried on a songwriting career like their father, who encouraged them early on.”

Sherman is survived by his Elizabeth, his children Gregory, Victoria, Lynda, and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A private service is scheduled for Friday, May 31, and plans for a larger celebration of his life will be revealed at a later date.

[via THR]

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