Richard M. Sherman, one half of the songwriting duo behind ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘It’s a Small World,’ dies at 95

Richard M. Sherman, one half of the songwriting duo behind ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘It’s a Small World,’ dies at 95

Richard M. Sherman, who with his late brother Robert wrote the songs for the 1964 Disney classic “Mary Poppins” as well as the song “It’s a Small World,” has died. He is 95 years old.

The news was confirmed in an announcement on the Walt Disney Company website, where Sherman was referred to as “one of the most prolific composer-lyricists in the history of family entertainment, and an important member of Walt Disney’s circle of creative talent.”

The announcement shared that Sherman died on Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, of an age-related illness.

Sherman won two Oscars with his brother in 1965 for his work on “Mary Poppins,” for best original score, and best original song for “Chim Chim Cher-ee.”

Along with his brother, he was nominated seven more times throughout the 1970s for other Disney films including “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “Bedknobs and Broomsticks.” He also won a Grammy Award for best original score for “Mary Poppins.”

The Sherman brothers also contribute music for several Disney theme park attractions, according to an announcement posted Saturday. The songs included “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” “The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room,” and their most enduring contribution, “It’s a Small World,” for the iconic theme park ride known for showcasing the diverse cultures of the whole world sings the same song in different languages. The announcement said that Sherman once described the song as “a prayer for peace.”

“Richard Sherman is the embodiment of what it means to be a Disney Legend, creating with his brother Robert the beloved classics that have become part of the soundtrack of our lives,” said Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

“From movies 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 our condolences to his family.”

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