Disney Songwriter Richard Sherman Dies Aged 95 - Noise11.com
Richard Sherman photo by Ros OGorman

Richard Sherman photo by Ros O'Gorman

Disney Songwriter Richard Sherman Dies Aged 95

by Paul Cashmere on May 26, 2024

in News

Richard Sherman, the songwriter known for hundreds of Disney classics, has died at age 95.

Richard and his brother Robert Sherman wrote the songs from g Mary Poppins, The Happiest Millionaire, The Sword in the Stone, The Jungle Book, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Snoopy Come Home, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Slipper and the Rose, and Charlotte’s Web.

In 2010, Richard Sherman was in Australia for the premiere of the Mary Poppins stage shows starring Verity Hunt-Ballard as Mary and Matt Lee as Bert. Richard explained to him how Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious came to be. “That was laboured a long, long hard time,” Richard Sherman said. :”We wanted to give a souvenir to the children to take out of this imaginary place when they jump into the picture. When we were kids, my brother Bob and I would write together. We used to make up double-talk words. People didn’t know what they meant and when they asked we said ‘that’s very special’. So the kids got this special word Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. We did do that. We started with Super Callosal and Obnoxious but Obnoxious is ugly so we thought it was more polite to say “atrocious”. That rhymes with “precocious” which means you are smart. And that rhymes with “docious” so why not? So we had that. Then we start at the beginning ‘Super Callosal’, that’s corny. Now we’ll have pure double talk. So we went with ‘califragilistic’ which sounds like something dropped out of your car or something. Basically we put the whole thing together ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’. Backwards its ‘Dociousaliexpilisticfragicalisuper, but don’t try that”

The Sherman Brothers first major soundtrack was for The Parent Trap in 1961 with songs sung by Tommy Sands, Annette Funicello and Hayley Mills. The brothers wrote over 200 Disney songs, working as staff composers for Disney from 1960 to 1973.

Robert died in 2012.

A statement from Disney said, “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Disney Legend Richard Sherman. Your songs are the soundtrack to so many of our memories, including the iconic “Feed the Birds.” Thank you for filling the world with your joy and for the incredible legacy of music you created.”

Robert and his wife Ursula were married in 1957. They remained married for the rest of Robert’s life. They had two children, Gregory and Victoria and six grandchildren.

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