Legendary Songwriter Richard M. Sherman Dies at 95

Richard M. Sherman, a renowned composer whose credits include Mary Poppins and many more, died at the age of 95.

He began his career in composing after joining his brother Robert B. Sherman. Together and apart, the Shermans won honors, nominations, and accolades over the years.

Richard attended Beverly Hills High School, where he learned to play a variety of instruments. He collaborated with fellow 1946 graduate Andre Previn, who would later win four Academy Awards, including Best Score for My Fair Lady. 

After enlisting in the United States Army in 1953, Richard served in the band until 1955. He then majored in music at New York’s Bard College.

The brothers established The Music World Corporation in 1958 as independent music publishers. Thanks to Annette Funicello, their song “Tall Paul” reached number one on the charts and put them on the map.

The Sherman brothers were employed by Walt Disney as composers for the Walt Disney Company. Their 1964 World Fair debut single, “It’s A Small World (After All),” became an instant classic.

The following year, at the Academy Awards, the Sherman brothers took home two trophies: Best Score and Best Original Song. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang earned them two of the nine Oscar nominations they received. The songwriters received nine Academy Award nominations and took home two over their career. For his 1975 work on Mary Poppins and his 1975 work on Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too!, he was honored with three Grammys.

The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story, a documentary that explored the lives and filmography of the famous songwriting pair, was published in 2009. 

Officially recognized as Disney Legends in 2005, the Sherman brothers were also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Richard’s stage musicals included Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, A Spoonful of Sherman, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and others.

In addition to writing songs for use in films, the Sherman brothers also contributed to Johnny Burnette’s 1960 single “You’re Sixteen,” which Ringo Starr of The Beatles performed in 1973.