Robert Sherman, who wrote iconic songs for Disney such as “It's A Small World (After All),” Mary Poppins' “Chim Chim Cher-ee” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” passed away in London at the age of 86.
His son Jeff announced the sad news to fans via Facebook yesterday. He wrote:
“I have very sad news to convey. My Dad, Robert B. Sherman, passed
away tonight in London. He went peacefully after months of truly
valiantly fending off death. He loved life and his dear heart finally
slowed to a stop when he could fight no more.”
Sherman worked at the Walt Disney Studios as a songwriting duo with his brother,
Richard. The brothers wrote the lyrics and music together, and won two Oscars for their work on Mary Poppins.
The Sherman brothers also wrote the music for such Disney classics such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Jungle Book. They also wrote music for Charlotte's Web, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and both versions of The Parent Trap.
But perhaps Sherman's biggest legacy–especially for OC natives who live in the shadow of Disneyland–is the earworm “It's a Small World.”
Written in 1964 at the behest of Walt Disney himself, the song was made for a ride featuring audio-animatronic children from all over the world. Disney asked for one song that could be easily translated into many languages and be played as a round, so the Sherman Brothers wrote “It's a Small World (After All).”
Disney was so delighted with the final result that he
renamed the attraction after the Sherman brothers'
song. According to the glorious Interwebz, It is the only Disney song never to be copyrighted, as UNICEF
requested, and can be heard worldwide on musical devices ranging from
keyboard demos to ice cream trucks; it remains, to this day, “a gift to
the children of the world.”