Disney Legend Richard M. Sherman Dies at 95

Disney Legend Richard M. Sherman Dies at 95

Richard M. Sherman, Disney Legend and songwriter, passed away on May 17, 2024, at the age of 95. Richard was one half of the Sherman Brothers, a songwriting duo he formed with his brother, Robert. The two are responsible for many of Disney’s most beloved songs, including “It’s a Small World,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

The composer-lyricists are perhaps best known for their work on Mary Poppins, where they won Academy Awards for Best Score – Substantially Original and Best Original Song for “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” The movie’s soundtrack also included “Feed the Birds,” one of Walt Disney’s favorite songs. Other movie credits include The Jungle Book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Aristocats, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and The Parent Trap.

The Sherman Brothers’ talents weren’t limited to film. They also composed countless songs for Disney park attractions, including “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” “The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room,” and “One Little Spark.” I defy anyone to experience those attractions without humming those songs the rest of the day. Another park staple was first written for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. “It’s a Small World” came on the heels of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Richard described it as “a simple, simple child’s prayer to respect each other and to love each other.”

Walt’s piano

The brothers demonstrated most of their music for Walt Disney on the piano in Walt’s office. Richard returned to perform on that piano earlier this year. You can see that special moment in the video below.

Remembering Richard Sherman

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

Bob Iger, CEO, The Walt Disney Company

“You don’t get songs like ‘Spoonful of Sugar’ without a genuine love of life, which Richard passed on to everyone lucky enough to be around him. Even in his 90s he had more energy and enthusiasm than anyone, and I always left renewed by Richard’s infectious joy for life.”

Pete Docter, Chief Creative Officer, Pixar

Richard and Robert were inducted as Disney Legends in 1990. The duo also has a window on Disneyland’s Main Street, U.S.A. It states: “Two Brothers Tunemakers – Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman: We’ll Write Your Tunes For a Song.” Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak portrayed Richard and Robert in Saving Mr. Banks, which told a dramatized story of the making of Mary Poppins.

Robert Sherman passed away in 2012.

A celebration of Richard Sherman’s life will be announced at a later date.

Read More: 2024 Disney Legends Announced