Disney Legend Passes Away at 95: A Look Back at a Remarkable Life

Richard M. Sherman, the renowned songwriter known for his contributions to iconic films such as “Mary Poppins,” passed away at the age of 95 on Saturday due to an age-related illness at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, as announced by Disney.

A funeral has been scheduled for Friday, May 31, at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California. Richard is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Gluck, whom he married in 1957. Together they had two children, Gregory and Victoria, and he also had a daughter, Lynda, from a previous marriage to Corrine Newman.

Throughout his distinguished career, Sherman received numerous awards, including two Oscars and three Grammy Awards. His collaborative work with his brother Robert has left an enduring impact on the entertainment industry.

Watch the video below for a tribute to his remarkable life and career:

Source: Youtube/KTLA5

Disney CEO Bob Iger paid tribute, saying, “Richard Sherman embodied the essence of a Disney Legend, crafting 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.”

Pete Docter, Chief Creative Officer at Pixar Animation Studios, also expressed his admiration: “You don’t create music like ‘Spoonful of Sugar’ without a genuine love of life, which Richard passed on to everyone fortunate enough to be around him. Even in his 90s, he exuded more energy and enthusiasm than anyone, and I always left inspired by Richard’s infectious joy for life.”

Film historian Leonard Maltin shared his thoughts, noting, “The Sherman brothers were consummate optimists who found a great patron in Walt Disney. Their music had an upbeat outlook that permeated Richard’s life, which was not without its challenges and difficulties.”

Richard Sherman was born on June 12, 1928, in New York City, following his father’s path as a songwriter. The family moved to Beverly Hills in 1937, where Richard attended Beverly Hills High School, mastering various instruments including the piano and flute. He graduated in 1946, performing at the ceremony alongside classmate Andre Previn, who later earned four Oscars.

In 1953, Richard served in the U.S. Army’s Army Band until 1955 and attended Bard College in New York, majoring in music. After graduation, Richard and Robert founded their music publishing company, the Music World Corporation, in 1958. Their song “Tall Paul,” sung by Annette Funicello, reached the top 10 and caught Walt Disney’s attention, leading to their employment as songwriters for Disney.

In 1964, “Mary Poppins,” starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, debuted with music by the Sherman brothers. The following year, they won two Oscars for Best Score and Best Original Song for “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” The iconic anthem “It’s a Small World (After All)” was also penned by them and debuted at the New York World’s Fair in 1964.

Richard’s other notable film scores included “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (1968), “The Aristocats” (1970), “The Jungle Book” (1967), and “Charlotte’s Web” (1973). Throughout his career, he received nine Oscar nominations, winning two, and earned three Grammy Awards. In 2005, the Sherman brothers were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and they were named Disney Legends in 1990.

Richard also contributed to stage musicals such as “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “Mary Poppins,” “A Spoonful of Sherman,” and “Bedknobs and Broomsticks.” Their music extended beyond film, including the song “You’re Sixteen,” popularized by Johnny Burnette in 1960 and later covered by Ringo Starr in 1973.

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