Beloved songwriter Richard Sherman, co-author of more than 200 songs, most of them for Disney, has died at the age of 95. He and his older brother Robert (1925 – 2012) wrote songs that won Oscars and Grammys, and were inducted as Disney Legends in 1990. President Bush awarded the pair the National Medal of the Arts, the highest award the U.S. government can award to artists.

President George W. Bush presents the 2008 National Medals of Arts to song writers Robert Sherman, left, and Richard Sherman, Monday, Nov. 17, 2008, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Richard M. Sherman was born June 12, 1928 in New York City, NY. He died May 25, 2024, in Los Angeles, California. He was married twice and had three children, two daughters and a son. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Elizabeth Gluck Sherman, his son Gregory Sherman, his daughters, Victoria Wolf and Lynda Rothstein, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren, as well as millions of fans. Sherman died of age-related illnesses. It was a long and full life, during which he witnessed almost a century of progress, made millions of people happy, and earned the respect of his peers. A private funeral is scheduled to take place Friday, May 31, at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary in Los Angeles. Plans for a celebration of life will be announced at a later date.

Sherman studied music at the appropriately named Bard College in Red Hook, New York. He served in the U. S. Army honorably, working as the conductor of the Army band and glee club.

Their father, Ukrainian immigrant and Tin Pan Alley composer Al Sherman encouraged his sons to become songwriters. Al Sherman’s biggest hit was “You’ve Got to Be a Football Hero.” Their mother was an actress, Rosa Dancis,who appeared in silent films.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said “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,”

Sherman’s most famous song is probably “It’s A Small World (After All)” Richard and Robert Sherman wrote songs for Disney movies, scores, songs for Disney parades, Disney park rides, They wrote “One Little Spark” for EPCOT. Do you remember the old Adventure Through Inner Space Ride in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland? It used to be where Star Tours is now. The Sherman Brothers wrote its song, “Miracles from Molecules.” And of course, they wrote the jaunty “In the Tiki Tiki Tiki Room” song. Richard and Robert Sherman were responsible for more motion picture musical song scores than any other songwriting team in film history.

For years, they were staff writers for Walt Disney Studios, but not all their work was for Disney. They also wrote the music for Charlotte’s Web (1973), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) The Slipper and the Rose (1976), and Snoopy Come Home (1972) They wrote both the screenplay and the score for Tom Sawyer (1973), which received three Oscar nominations and won first prize at the Moscow Film Festival, the first (and thus far) only Americans to do so. They wrote the songs for Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1989).

Richard and Robert Sherman” wrote more than 200 songs and garnered nine Academy Award nominations, won two Oscars and three Grammy Awards, and also earned 24 gold and platinum albums over a decades-long career.” The pair were given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1976.

Pete Docter, Chief Creative Officer, Pixar Animation Studios, said, “You don’t get songs like ‘Spoonful of Sugar’ without a genuine love of life, which Richard passed on to everyone lucky enough to be around him. Even in his 90s he had more energy and enthusiasm than anyone, and I always left renewed by Richard’s infectious joy for life.” Richard also wrote “Chin Up” for Charlotte’s Web” and It’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” for the Carousel of Progress ride.

Richard Sherman and his brother will be remembered for centuries. Jerome Kern famously said “Irving Berlin is American music. The same could easily be said of Richard and Robert Sherman.

Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress ”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.