Remembering Richard Sherman

Posted on Sat, 05/25/2024 - 17:28

The Walt Disney Family Museum is saddened to learn of the passing of Disney Legend Richard Sherman. Much like the lyrics to his many iconic songs, Richard Sherman’s legacy will never be forgotten.

Richard Sherman was born on June 12, 1928, in New York, New York. Along with his late older brother Robert Sherman, “the Sherman brothers” duo followed in their father’s footsteps to form a long-lasting songwriting partnership.  

After writing the hit “Tall Paul” for Mouseketeer Annette Funicello, the Sherman brothers gained the attention of Walt Disney himself, and eventually became Walt’s favorite songwriters. They were the heart of Walt’s crowning cinematic achievement, Mary Poppins (1964), which gave them their big break and won them two Academy Awards®. 

At the studio, Walt Disney was often “all-work”—intense and focused on his current projects. But on the rare occasion, Walt would call “the boys” up to his office, and ask them to play his favorite song, “Feed the Birds.” In those moments, Walt was more vulnerable and heartfelt. He was no longer the busy executive, but the young dreamer on the farm back in Missouri. And it was Richard Sherman’s voice that sang to him. 

Over their long-lasting career, the duo wrote beloved songs for Disney films such as The Parent Trap (1961), The Jungle Book (1967), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), and the Winnie the Pooh series. Not only did they write songs for films but wrote Disneyland favorites “The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room” for Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, “It’s a Small World,” and “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” for Carousel of Progress. They wrote over 200 songs, across 27 films and television productions, and received a total of nine Academy Award® nominations.  

Throughout Richard’s career, he became a great friend of The Walt Disney Family Museum through his personal friendships with Diane Disney Miller and her husband Ron Miller. Richard was joined by Floyd Norman and Diane Disney Miller for a special appearance in celebration of the 2013 home video re-release of The Jungle Book; it would be Diane’s last filmed appearance. He has played his unforgettable songs for special events and participated in numerous special programs at the museum since its founding. On November 3, 2015, he was awarded the inaugural Diane Disney Miller Lifetime Achievement Award for his impact in the arts throughout his career. 

Richard once said when referencing his career with Disney, “There is a line in Mary Poppins that says, ‘A man has dreams of walking with giants to carve his niche in the edifice of time.’ At Disney, we walked with giants.” The world will never forget the Sherman brothers whose music will forever be cherished. We will miss Richard Sherman deeply.