Robert B. Sherman, half of the acclaimed and prolific Sherman Brothers songwriting team, passed away in London, England, on March 5 at The London Clinic, from an age-related illness. He was 86 years old. In collaboration with his brother, Richard M. Sherman (who survives him), Robert wrote some of the most memorable and beloved songs in the history of modern family entertainment. Personally selected by Walt Disney to write songs for his films, television shows, and theme parks, the Sherman Brothers had perhaps their biggest career milestone with the 1964 Disney masterpiece Mary Poppins , for which they received two of the film’s five Oscar ® wins for Best Song (“Chim Chim Cher-ee”) and Best Original Score. They are responsible for more motion picture musical song scores than any other songwriting team in film history.
Throughout their incredible 50-year career as a songwriting team, the Sherman Brothers garnered nine Academy Award ® nominations; won three Grammy Awards ®; were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame; received a remarkable array of 24 gold and platinum albums; and were the recipients of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Robert and his brother were the subject of an acclaimed 2009 documentary, the boys: the sherman brothers story, and recipients of the National Medal of Arts (the highest honor the United States government bestows on artists). In recent years, the Shermans have enjoyed great success on the London and Broadway stage with twin theatrical productions of two of their most beloved films: Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Commenting on Robert’s passing, Richard Sherman said, “My brother Bob was a poetic soul with limitless imagination and talent. He was my loyal friend all through the years. We were fortunate to have been blessed by two great men, our key inspirations—our father, Al, who teamed us up and taught us the craft, and Walt Disney, who provided us with an opportunity to realize our greatest dreams. Bob will be lovingly missed by all of us in his family.”
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