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'Mary Poppins' songwriter was 95

'Mary Poppins' songwriter was 95


Richard M. Sherman, the Oscar-winning songwriter who teamed up with his late brother to create tunes for Disney classics such as Married Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang And The jungle Book, died on Saturday. He was 95 years old.

Sherman, who also co-wrote “It's a Small World (After All)” — considered the most performed song of all time — as well as “You're Sixteen,” a chart-topper for Ringo Starr, died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from an age-related illness, Disney announced.

Members of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and recipients of the National Medal of Honor, Richard and his older brother, Robert Sherman, wrote approximately 1,000 songs and scores for 50 films, and they were responsible for more than film musicals than anyone in history.

For their work on Married Poppins (1964), the Sherman Brothers made two victorious trips to the Oscar stage at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, accepting the trophies for Best Original Score and Best Song (“Chim Chim Dear-ee »).

The duo, who were hired by Walt Disney himself and worked directly with the Hollywood legend for nearly a decade, were also nominated for songs. “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” from the 1968 United Artists film; “The Age of Not Believing” Bed knobs and brooms (1971); “The Slipper and the Rose Waltz (He danced with me/She danced with me)” by The Slipper and the Rose: Cinderella's Story (1976) and “When You Are Loved” by Lassie's magic (1978). They received three more nouns nouns for their scores.

Their film work also included The parental trap (1961) – which featured “Let's Get Together,” their inventive “duet” performed by Hayley Mills – The sword in the stone (1963), Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966), THE AristoCats (1970), Snoopy, come home (1972), Charlotte's website (1973), Tom Sawyer (1973) and THE Tigger Movie (2000).

In 1961, Richard and Robert separately watched British actress Julie Andrews perform two songs from her Broadway musical. Camelot on The Ed Sullivan Show and I immediately knew she would be ideal for the lead role in Married Poppins. In a clever move, they asked the Disney secretary to purchase tickets for Camelot for the studio head and his wife, and he saw the same thing in Andrews as they did.

Married Poppins may have been inspired by the characters in the books written by PL Travers, but it's the brothers and their songs – also including the 34 words « Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Sister Suffragette” and the lullaby “Feed the Birds,” which was Walt’s favorite song – all of which shaped the film’s narrative.

“You don't get songs like 'Spoonful of Sugar' without a true love of life, which Richard passed on to everyone lucky enough to be by his side,” said the director and creative director of Pixar , Pete Docter, in a press release. “Even at 90, he had more energy and enthusiasm than anyone, and I always came away renewed by Richard’s contagious joie de vivre.”

Into a wonderful year 2011 interview with THRIt is Scott Feinberg, Richard described how “the boys” – as Disney affectionately called them – came to work on Married Poppins.

“One day he had just accepted one of our songs – I think for a while Zorro episode or something – and he said, “You know what a nanny is? And we said, “Yeah, it’s a goat.” “We thought he was going to make a movie about a singing goat or something. Then he said: “No, no, no, in an English nursery!” “Oh, yeah, of course, in an English nursery there’s a nanny, that’s right.”

“So he says, ‘Well, I have a book. I want you to read this and tell me what you think. He didn't say, “I have this book, I want you to write me a title song for it” or “I have a situation I want you to write for this character to sing about.” He just said, “Read the book and tell me what you think.” » »

In other words, Disney was looking for a plot.

In a 2013 interview, Richard described the brothers' first meeting with Travers. “His first line was, 'I don't even know why I'm meeting you gentlemen, because actually we're not going to have music in this movie and, in fact, we're not going to have music in this movie.' .prancing and dancing. We were completely disappointed.

Of course, Walt and the boys would change their minds, and in a memorable backstage photo at the 1965 Oscars, the trophy-bearing brothers are seen kissing the cheeks of Andrews, who is holding his own statuette, for the best actress. .

Disney also asked Sherman to come up with a catchy, all-encompassing tune for his “UNICEF Salutes the Children of the World” guided attraction at the 1964 World's Fair. Before the brothers got involved, there was the obnoxious cacophony of various national anthems sung by audio-animatronics dolls.

“But Walt, are we stuck with this title “Greet the Children of the World?” “UNICEF? It’s a mouthful,” Richard told Feinberg. “He said, ‘Yeah. Well, it's the little children of the world who are the hope of the future — that's what we're trying to say. He kept saying, “Little children are the hope of the world,” and we said, “Yes, the little… world.” That's it! And let's not get blown up!

“Now how do you say that? After all, let's use our heads. “After all… little one… after all.” It rhymes. “The world is small, after all.” And that's how we came up with the expression.

Disney liked their version so much that they named the attraction after it, and “It's a Small World After All” is now shown in theme parks around the world, thousands of times a day. Richard described the song as a “prayer for peace” and said it was the brothers' only track that made people want to “kiss them or kill them”.

Despite their immense success, the siblings didn't always get along, as the document shows The Boys: The Story of the Sherman Brothers (2009), produced and directed by their sons Gregory V. Sherman and Jeffrey C. Sherman.

“Bob was in his orbit; I was in mine,” Richard said. “I wouldn't say it was anything else, but that his interests were different. I've always been quite extroverted; he has always been an introvert. …Basically, one of the chemical things that worked with us was the fact that we both had a stereoscopic look at things, so we could mix our thoughts, and success came that way.

Robert died in March 2012 at the age of 86. BJ Novak played him and Jason Schwartzman portrayed Richard, in the Disney film Saving Mr. Banks (2013), on the manufacture of Married Poppins.

Richard Sherman was born in Manhattan on June 12, 1928, 30 months after his brother. Their mother was a Broadway actress and their father was Tin Pan Alley composer Al Sherman, whose song “Potatoes Are Cheaper, Tomatoes Are Cheaper, Now's the Time to Fall in Love” was one of Eddie Cantor's favorites. His songs have also been recorded by Maurice Chevalier, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee and Cyndi. Lauper.

The family moved west in the mid-1930s and Richard attended Beverly Hills High School. He and his brother attended Bard College in New York (his major was music, while Roberts' was English literature and painting), and Richard wrote what is today the school's official song .

Asked by their father: “You guys, I bet you couldn't even write a song that a kid would give up their lunch money to buy on a record!” ” — the boys began writing and their first song, “Gold Can Buy You Anything But Love,” was recorded in 1951 by singing cowboy Gene. Autry.

In 1958, they celebrated their first top 10 hit with “Tall Paul”, covered by Mouseketeer Annette. Funicello. They wrote a number of hits for the teenager they called “our lucky star,” and Mr. Disney took note. He gave the brothers various assignments, then offered them positions as songwriters moments after telling them he liked their ideas for Married Poppins.

They were named Disney Legends in 1990.

Most recently, Sherman wrote a song with composer Fabrizio Mancinelli for Andreas Deja's 2023 animated short film, mules. “Mushka’s Lullabye” was performed by soprano Holly Sedillos.

Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Elizabeth; his children, Gregory, Victoria and Lynda; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Asked by Feinberg what the best lyrics he ever wrote were, Sherman brought up the ones he wrote for “A Man Has Dreams” from Married Poppins.

“When it comes to writing what a man really feels – every man, every man – he dreams of doing something wonderful, of walking with the giants in his particular world,” he said. declared. “An insurer wants to be the best man in the insurance industry. I dreamed of being a leading man in the music business, so it slipped my mind.

“I said, 'A man dreams of walking with giants.' I wanted to be with Gershwin. Who knows if I got there? I wanted to carve out a place for myself in the edifice of time, so what I said – I was talking about myself, in reality.




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