Richard M. Sherman in a white shirt sits behind an open grand piano with a shelf of "Mary Poppins" memorabilia in the background.

BREAKING: Richard M. Sherman, Disney Legend and Songwriter, Passes Away

Jason Diffendal

Richard M. Sherman, Disney Legend and half of the prolific songwriting team of the Sherman Brothers, passed away Saturday, May 25, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills. He was 95.

Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman (who passed away in 2012) composed music and lyrics for a number of theme park attractions around the world, starting in the 1960s with “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” for Carousel of Progress at the 1964 World’s Fair, “The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room” for the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland, and “It’s a Small World” also for the 1964 World’s Fair. In the early 1970s, they wrote a second tune for the Carousel of Progress called “The Best Time of Your Life.” In the early 1980s, the brothers contributed songs for EPCOT Center and Tokyo Disneyland, including “One Little Spark” for Journey Into Imagination, and “Meet the World” for the eponymous attraction at Tokyo Disneyland. Richard and his brother were inducted as Disney Legends in 1990.


In 2010, The Walt Disney Company saluted the Sherman brothers for their musical contributions to Disney Parks worldwide. They were honored with their very own window on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland, with the inscription “Two Brothers Tunemakers – Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman: We’ll Write Your Tunes For a Song.”

1920 D23 sherman

The Sherman Brothers are amongst the most prolific composer-lyricists in the history of family entertainment, and were part of Walt Disney’s inner circle. In addition to the attraction music, they composed numerous songs for films, both for the Walt Disney Studios and others.

“The Sherman brothers were professional optimists who found a perfect patron in Walt Disney. Their songs had an upbeat outlook that spilled over into Richard’s life, which was not without its troubles and challenges,” said film historian Leonard Maltin. “He was especially proud that he and his brother carried on a songwriting career like their father, who encouraged them early on.”

“Richard Sherman was the embodiment of what it means to be a Disney Legend, creating along with his brother Robert the beloved classics that have become a cherished part of the soundtrack of our lives,” said Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “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 of audiences. We are forever grateful for the mark Richard left on the world, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family.”

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