Mary Poppins songwriter Richard Sherman dies aged 95

Composer Richard M Sherman, who wrote songs for Disney film classics such as Mary Poppins has died aged 95 in Beverly Hills.

Sherman partnered with his late brother Robert, and the pair won two Oscars in 1965 for their work on Mary Poppins.

Some of the brothers’ best-known compositions include the Jungle Book’s Trust in Me and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s Truly Scrumptious.

His death was announced in a statement by Disney, which said Sherman passed away “due to age-related illness” at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The Sherman brothers were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 and received the US National Medal of the Arts in 2008.

The Aristocats, Bedknobs and Broomsticks and the Winnie the Pooh shorts were among other Disney productions to feature their words and music.

The brothers were portrayed in the 2013 film Saving Mr. Banks, which told the story behind the making of Mary Poppins.

Released one year after his brother’s death, in March 2012, the film saw actors Jason Schwartzman and B. J. Novak play the two brothers as they composed and co-wrote the film’s hit songs.

Their catchy and energetic song Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious became a pop hit, entering the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965.

The brothers were rewarded for their work on the film with the Oscars for Best Music Score and Best Original Song, for Chim Chim Cher-ee.

Across his 65-year career, Sherman became part of Walt Disney’s “inner circle of creative talents”, the entertainment company said.

He was born in New York City on 12 June 1928 and won three Grammy awards and received 24 gold and platinum albums, the Disney statement added.

His service to the arts industry also led to a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

As reported by US media, the Sherman brothers wrote more than 150 songs at Disney, including scores for the 1961 film Parent Trap, which had a new lease of life in 1998 starring a young Lindsay Lohan.

Sherman continued to play an active role producing musical scores in his advanced age. In 2023, he wrote a new song with composer Fabrizio Mancinelli for Disney Legend Andreas Deja’s animated short film Mushka.

Sherman is survived by his wife Elizabeth Sherman, his children and grandchildren.

His funeral will take place on 31 May in California.

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