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Disney Songwriter Richard Sherman Passes Away at 95

Photo : AFP

Renowned songwriter Richard M. Sherman, part of the dynamic duo behind numerous Disney classics, passed away at the age of 95 due to complications from age-related illness, as announced by The Walt Disney Co. on Saturday.

Richard Sherman, along with his late brother Robert, formed an indelible mark on the realm of entertainment, crafting unforgettable tunes that have resonated with generations. Their contributions to beloved Disney films such as "Mary Poppins," "The Jungle Book," and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" have left an enduring legacy. Notably, their composition "It's a Small World (After All)" remains one of the most recognized and played tunes globally.

Their collaboration with Disney culminated in multiple accolades, including two Academy Awards for "Mary Poppins," where they clinched the titles for Best Score and Best Song ("Chim Chim Cher-ee"). Additionally, they received a Grammy for Best Movie or TV Score. Robert Sherman passed away in London in 2012 at the age of 86.

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In a tribute posted on Disney's website, the company acknowledged the profound impact of the Sherman brothers' music, noting their songs as an integral part of the Disney experience for moviegoers and theme park visitors alike.

Beyond their Disney repertoire, the Shermans left an indelible mark on Broadway with productions like "Mary Poppins" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." Their collaborative efforts extended to a plethora of films, including "Winnie the Pooh," "The Slipper and the Rose," and "Charlotte's Web," among others.

The duo's approach to songwriting, characterized by catchy melodies and thoughtful lyrics, was shaped by Walt Disney's advice to avoid condescension and cater to audiences of all ages. This philosophy resulted in music that resonated with both children and adults on multiple levels.

Their fruitful partnership with Disney began in the 1960s, yielding over 150 songs for various Disney projects, including iconic soundtracks for classics like "The Sword and the Stone," "The Jungle Book," and "The Aristocats."

The legacy of musical excellence passed down to Richard and Robert Sherman from their father, composer Al Sherman, who instilled in them a passion for songcraft. Richard Sherman's surviving family includes his wife, Elizabeth, and their children, Gregory and Victoria, as well as a daughter, Lynda, from a previous marriage.

A private funeral for Richard Sherman is scheduled for Friday, with Disney planning a celebration of life service to honor his remarkable contributions to the world of entertainment.

Despite occasional estrangement, the brothers maintained a deep respect and love for each other, a sentiment Richard Sherman expressed with characteristic humor and warmth. Their enduring bond and creative synergy have left an indelible mark on the world of music and entertainment.

May 26, 2024 12:29 p.m. 514

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