‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ Composer Dies

by J-Stacknik

Pres. George W. Bush presented Robert Sherman (left) and his brother Richard with an award in 2008 for "bringing joy to millions" with music.

One word sums up the work of songwriter Robert B. Sherman, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. He wrote that famous song for the Disney movie Mary Poppins, and regardless of age, everyone seems to know that famous refrain. Sherman died on March 6, 2012 at the age of 86. He was one half of a songwriting duo, who along with his brother Richard, wrote songs for films like The Jungle Book, The Aristocats, Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Sherman learned the craft of songwriting from his father, Tin Pan Ally composer Al Sherman, who also wrote and composed the songs You Gotta Be A Football Hero and On The Beach of Bali Bali. Robert Sherman believed that a song should be singable, simple and sincere that in the simplest things you find something universal. His son Jeffery Sherman said “He was a very simple guy – complex but simple. If you ever want to know about my dad, listen to the lyrics of his songs.”

The Sherman Brothers’ career was long and prolific and garlanded with awards. They won two Academy Awards for Walt Disney’s 1964 smash Mary Poppins – best score and best song, Chim Chim Cher-ee. They also picked up a Grammy for best movie or TV score.

Another song they wrote It’s a Small World (After All) – has become one of the most translated and performed songs on the planet. It plays on a continual, multilingual loop every few minutes at Disney theme parks across the world.

“Something good happens, when we sit down together and work,” Richard Sherman said in 2005. “We’ve been doing it all our lives.” Together they have achieved 23 gold and platinum albums, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and were inducted into the the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2008 President George W. Bush awarded them the National Medal of Arts. He commended the brothers for their music that “has helped bring joy to millions.”

On Tuesday March 6, 2012 three Broadway marquees – including The New Amsterdam Theatre, where Mary Poppins is playing – dimmed their lights in Sherman’s honor.

Robert Sherman’s wife died in 2002 and he is survived by his brother and four children: Laurie, Jeffery, Andrea and Robert.

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Robert Sherman

Video | Supercalifragilisticexpialidoucious from Mary Poppins


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