Renowned Mary Poppins Songwriter Richard M. Sherman Dies at 95

Renowned songwriter Richard M. Sherman, best known for his work on Mary Poppins, has passed away at the age of 95. His death was announced last night.

Richard Sherman, along with his brother Robert, formed the legendary Sherman Brothers duo, creating iconic songs for films such as Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and The Aristocats. The pair became Disney’s in-house songwriters after Annette Funicello popularized their 1958 hit “Tall Paul.”

The Sherman Brothers are celebrated for their beloved theme park attraction songs, including “It’s a Small World (After All),” “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” “Just One Spark,” and “The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room.” They won an Oscar for “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from Mary Poppins and received nominations for songs from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and several other films. In 1976, they were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Over their careers, they wrote more than 200 songs for 27 films and 24 television productions.

As integral members of Walt Disney’s inner creative circle, the Sherman Brothers were portrayed by B.J. Novak (Robert) and Jason Schwartzman (Richard) in the 2013 film Saving Mr. Banks, which depicted the making of the original Mary Poppins film. In 2023, Richard Sherman returned to Walt’s office to play piano in a key sequence of the Walt Disney Animation Studios’ short film Once Upon a Studio, celebrating Disney’s 100-year history.

Beyond their cinematic and theme park contributions, the Shermans wrote stage musicals including Victory Canteen, Over Here!, Busker Alley, and theatrical adaptations of Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

Richard Sherman is survived by his spouse, Elizabeth Gluck, children Lynda, Gregory, and Victoria, and six grandchildren. His brother Robert predeceased him in 2012.

Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger expressed his condolences, saying, “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.”

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