'it's a small world' songwriter Robert Sherman passes

Mar 06, 2012 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Tuesday March 6, 2012 9:41am EST by WDWMAGIC Staff
Sad news from London today that Disney Legend, Robert Sherman, has died, aged 86.  The song writer, along with his brother Richard, wrote many of the most beloved Disney songs of all time, including 'it's a small world', 'The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room', 'One Little Spark', 'Carousel of Progress', along with songs from Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

His son Jeff wrote the following on Facebook.

Hello to family and friends, 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. I will write more about this incredible man I love and admire so much when I am better rested and composed. He deserves that. In the meantime, please say a prayer for him. As he said, he wanted to bring happiness to the world and, unquestionably, he succeeded. His love and his prayers, his philosophy and his poetry will live on forever. Forever his songs and his genius will bring hope, joy and love to this small, small world. I love you, Dad. Safe travels. Love, Jeff

Robert Sherman BIO from the Disney Legends site

Long before Disney audiences were introduced to "A Whole New World" in the animated feature "Aladdin," the Sherman Brothers brought the world a little bit closer with their universal ditty "It's a Small World." Today, they remain the quintessential lyrical voice of Walt Disney.

 Probably best known for their music from "Mary Poppins," Richard and Robert Sherman won two Oscars for best score and best song ("Chim Chim Cher-ee"), while "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" became a pop hit entering the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1965. "Feed the Birds," a lullaby, did not win the same level of public acclaim; however, it became one of Walt Disney's all-time favorite songs.

Robert Sherman recalled, "The point of the song - that it doesn't take much to give a little kindness - was what really registered with Walt."

During the Sherman Brothers' 13-year career at Disney (1960-73), they received four Academy Award nominations for more than 200 songs they wrote for 27 films and two dozen television productions. They also wrote music for a number of theme park attractions, including the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland.

Born in Manhattan, the Brothers' father was Tin Pan Alley songwriter Al Sherman, who penned such Depression-era songs as, "Potatoes Are Cheaper, Tomatoes Are Cheaper, Now's the Time to Fall in Love," which became one of comedian Eddie Cantor's signature tunes.

In 1951, the Sherman Brothers' first song, "Gold Can Buy You Anything But Love" was recorded by cowboy crooner Gene Autry and played daily on his radio show. Their big break came in 1958, when Mouseketeer Annette Funicello recorded their song "Tall Paul," which shot up to number seven on the charts and sold 700,000 singles.

The Sherman Brothers continued to write a string of top ten hits for Annette, including "Pineapple Princess," when Walt Disney took notice and soon hired them as staff composers. Over the years, they contributed to such films as "The Parent Trap," "The Jungle Book," "Bedknobs and Broomsticks," and the entire Winnie the Pooh series, including "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day," as well as television shows, such as "Zorro" and "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color." Among their last projects before leaving Disney were songs for EPCOT Center and Tokyo Disneyland.

In 1992, Disney Records released a retrospective collection of their music on CD titled, "The Sherman Brothers: Disney's Supercalifragilistic Songwriting Team." In 1998, the Brothers' returned to the Studio to compose music for Disney's "The Tigger Movie." They also penned their autobiography, "Walt's Time: From Before to Beyond."

About their Disney career, Richard said, "There's 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."