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Richard M. Sherman: “Mary Poppins” songwriter has died

Richard M. Sherman: “Mary Poppins” songwriter has died

Richard M. Shermann died shortly before his 96th birthday in June. His music influenced countless films.

Hollywood mourns the loss of a music legend: Richard M. Sherman (1928-2024), songwriter of “Mary Poppins”, has died at the age of 95. As the US American, he succumbed to an age-related illness on May 25 at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills.

Sherman was a multiple Oscar winner and worked with his brother Robert B. (1925-2012) on the songs for “Mary Poppins,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and the timeless Disney song “It’s a Small World (After All).” They shaped a whole generation of legendary Hollywood productions. The Sherman brothers worked in a job that no longer exists today: as in-house songwriters for a studio. In their case, it was the Disney studio, and the brothers were hired for this permanent job after their 1958 song “Tall Paul” became a hit.

In 1964 the brothers achieved their big breakthrough

In the early 1960s they wrote melodies for Hayley Mills (78) in the Disney films “Twins Rarely Come Alone” and “Midsummer Night’s Magic” as well as songs for “The Flying Pauker” and “Moon Whispers”. Walt Disney (1901-1966), always aware of synergy, made sure that his family comedies had a melody with radio play potential. In 1964 the Shermans wrote the songs for “Mary Poppins”, which became their biggest success. The brothers won Oscars for the film music and the best song “Chim Chim Cher-ee”.

After Walt Disney’s death in 1966, the brothers continued to provide the studio with material for musicals and animated films, most notably 1967’s “The Jungle Book.” But they moved on to other work, their first job outside Disney being Albert R. Broccoli’s 1968 film “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” which earned the brothers their third Oscar nomination. In 1973, the two became the first Americans to win the top prize at the Moscow Film Festival for “Tom Sawyer,” for which they had also written the screenplay. They also wrote the score and screenplay for “Cinderella’s Silver Slipper” (1976), a musical retelling of Cinderella.

Rain of awards for their work

All of the Shermans’ songs had a catchy chorus, lively melodies and direct, straightforward lyrics with an optimistic attitude. The brothers were nominated for an Oscar nine times, winning twice. They were also awarded two Grammys. In 2008, they were honored with the National Medal of Arts at the White House by then-President George W. Bush (77).

In 1957, Richard M. Sherman married Elizabeth Gluck, with whom he had two children: Gregory and Victoria. He also had a daughter from a previous marriage.

Source: Stern

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