Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Mary Poppins songwriter Robert B Sherman dies aged 86...


Robert B Sherman, who penned songs for Disney classics including Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book with his brother Richard M, has died in London aged 86.

His death on Monday, initially announced on Facebook by his son Jeff, was confirmed by his agent, Stella Richards.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and It's a Small World (After All) were among the Shermans' many compositions.

The sibling duo won two Oscars and were nominated for seven others.

Born in 1925 in New York, Robert B was the son of Al Sherman, a celebrated songwriter who achieved success on Manhattan's Tin Pan Alley.

It was Al who first challenged his sons to try songwriting, a challenge they met in 1958 when they had their first US hit with Tall Paul.

The Annette Funicello track caught the attention of Walt Disney, who invited the Shermans to become staff songwriters at his studios.

In 1964 they wrote It's a Small World (After All) for an installation at the New York World's Fair that went on to become a popular fixture at Disney's theme parks.

Mary Poppins, released the same year, featured some of their most enduring compositions, among them A Spoonful of Sugar and the Oscar-winning Chim Chim Cher-ee.

The Shermans worked again with actor Dick Van Dyke on 1968 musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, for which they wrote popular songs including Truly Scrumptious and Me Ol' Bamboo.

For 1967 favourite The Jungle Book, Robert and Richard wrote Trust in Me, Colonel Hathi's March and I Wan'na Be Like You.

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

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

A decorated soldier in World War II, Robert B Sherman was also a painter, screenwriter and novelist.

"He wanted to bring happiness to the world and, unquestionably, he succeeded," said his son in his Facebook message, republished by the Hollywood Reporter.

"His love and his prayers, his philosophy and his poetry will live on forever. Forever his songs and his genius will bring hope, joy and love to this small, small world."

Source: BBC

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