Hello, dear friends and fans of Finnley’s Audio Adventures. Today, we take a moment to honor the extraordinary life and legacy of Richard M. Sherman, a Disney Legend whose music has touched the hearts of millions around the world. I have always marveled at the magical melodies that transport us to the enchanted worlds crafted by Richard and his brother Robert. From the catchy tunes of “Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room” or “It’s a Small World” that get stuck in our heads all day to the whimsical “One Little Spark” that ignites our imaginations in EPCOT, Richard’s music has been a constant companion in our adventures.

Richard Morton Sherman, born on June 12, 1928, in New York City, began a life that would eventually resonate with music lovers around the world. His parents, Russian Jewish immigrants Rosa (Dancis) and Al Sherman, were instrumental in nurturing his early interest in music. Richard’s father, Al Sherman, was a successful Tin Pan Alley songwriter, whose influence would later guide Richard and his older brother, Robert, into the world of songwriting.

The image is of a record sleeve titled "Simply Sherman: Disney Hits from The Sherman Brothers." It features a stylized black-and-white portrait of the Sherman Brothers, with one brother slightly behind the other. Both are dressed in black suits with white shirts and bright blue ties. The image has a halftone dot pattern, giving it a vintage, print-like quality. The text "SIMPLY SHERMAN" is prominent at the top left, followed by "DISNEY HITS from THE SHERMAN BROTHERS" in smaller letters beneath it.

The Sherman family moved frequently during Richard’s childhood, finally settling in Beverly Hills, California, in 1937. It was here that Richard’s musical journey truly began. During his years at Beverly Hills High School, he developed a fascination with music, mastering several instruments including the flute, piccolo, and piano. A defining moment came at his 1946 high school graduation, where Richard performed a musical duet with classmate André Previn. This performance was a harbinger of future success, as both young men would go on to win Academy Awards in 1964—Previn for “My Fair Lady” and the Sherman Brothers for “Mary Poppins.”

Richard’s promising career was briefly interrupted when he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1953. Serving as a musical conductor for the Army Band and glee club, he honed his skills until his honorable discharge in 1955. Following his service, Richard attended Bard College, majoring in music and nurturing his dream of becoming a great American composer.

In 1958, Richard and his brother Robert began their legendary songwriting partnership, spurred by a challenge from their father. Their big break came with the success of “Tall Paul,” sung by Annette Funicello. This success caught the eye of Walt Disney, who hired the brothers as staff songwriters for Walt Disney Studios. Their tenure at Disney was marked by the creation of timeless classics, including “It’s a Small World (After All)” for the 1964 New York World’s Fair and the iconic soundtrack for “Mary Poppins,” which earned them two Academy Awards.

Richard and Robert’s contributions to Disney extended beyond films. Their songs became integral to the Disney theme park experience, with beloved tracks such as “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” and “The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room.” Their music captured the hearts of generations, making the Sherman Brothers synonymous with the magic of Disney.

The image is of a record sleeve titled "Walt Disney's The Enchanted Tiki Room." The cover features a vibrant, tropical design with a green border adorned with colorful flowers and leaves. On the left side, there is an illustration of a parrot perched on a branch, wearing a hat and bow tie. On the right side, there is an illustration of a traditional tiki mask surrounded by flowers and leaves. In the center, there is a rectangular photograph of the Tiki Room attraction, showing animatronic birds and flowers entertaining an audience. The text at the top reads "Walt Disney's THE ENCHANTED TIKI ROOM" in bold red and yellow letters, with a smaller subtitle below: "THE ORIGINAL SOUND TRACK OF THE TIKI ROOM AND THE ADVENTUROUS JUNGLE CRUISE." At the bottom, it states: "A MAGNIFICENT FULL-COLOR ILLUSTRATED BOOK AND LONG-PLAYING RECORD." The Disneyland Records logo is present in the top right corner.

In 1968, the brothers ventured into new territory with the film “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” earning another Academy Award nomination. They continued to write for numerous films, including “Snoopy Come Home,” “Charlotte’s Web,” and “The Slipper and the Rose.” Their Broadway musical “Over Here!” in 1974 became the highest-grossing original musical of that year.

The 1980s saw the Sherman Brothers returning to Disney to write songs for EPCOT Center and Tokyo Disneyland, further cementing their legacy. Their work on “The Tigger Movie” in 2000 marked a significant return to Disney, showcasing their timeless appeal.

Throughout their illustrious career, the Sherman Brothers received numerous accolades. In 1990 they were inducted as Disney Legends and in 2005 into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. They received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and were awarded the National Medal of Arts by President George W. Bush in 2008. Their legacy was immortalized in 2018 when the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank renamed Soundstage A the Sherman Brothers Stage.

Richard’s journey was not without personal milestones. He married Ursula Elizabeth Gluck in 1957, and together they had two children, Gregory Vincent and Victoria Lynn. He also had a daughter from a previous marriage, Lynda Rothstein. Richard’s family was a source of joy and inspiration throughout his life.

Even in his later years, Richard continued to contribute to the world of music. He collaborated on live-action films, including the 2016 remake of “The Jungle Book” and “Christopher Robin” in 2018. In 2023, he returned to Walt Disney Animation Studios for the short film “Once Upon a Studio,” playing piano in a touching homage to his and his brother’s contributions to Disney’s legacy.

Richard Sherman’s remarkable life came to a close on May 25, 2024, when he passed away at the age of 95. The Walt Disney Company announced his passing, commemorating him as a “prolific composer-lyricist” and a “key member of Walt Disney’s inner circle of creative talents.” His wife of 66 years, Ursula, their children, and grandchildren, along with his extended family, survive him.

As we bid a heartfelt farewell to Richard M. Sherman, we remember the joy and wonder his music has brought into our lives. His contributions to Disney, from the enchanting tunes of “Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room” to the inspiring notes of “One Little Spark” for Figment, have become an indelible part of our collective memories. The songs from “The Jungle Book” and other Disney classics continue to play in our hearts, reminding us of the magic and creativity that Richard and his brother Robert infused into every note.

Richard’s legacy is not just in the songs we sing but in the smiles, laughter, and dreams his music has inspired. I am grateful for the melodies that have accompanied me on countless adventures, and I know that Richard’s music will continue to be a guiding light for future generations. Let’s cherish these moments and keep the spirit of Richard M. Sherman alive by sharing his songs, stories, and the magic they create. Thank you, Richard, for the music, the memories, and the magic. Your legacy will live on in the hearts of all who believe in the power of a song.


  1. “Richard M. Sherman.” IMDb, IMDb.com, Accessed 26 May 2024, https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0792556/.
  2. Sarnoff, Leah. “Richard M. Sherman, ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘It’s a Small World’ Songwriter, Dies at 95.” ABC News, 25 May 2024, 4:18 PM, Accessed 26 May 2024, https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Culture/richard-sherman-mary-poppins-small-world-songwriter-dies/story?id=110565272.
  3. “Remembering Disney Legend Richard M. Sherman.” The Walt Disney Company, Accessed 26 May 2024, https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/remembering-disney-legend-richard-m-sherman/.
  4. King, Susan. “Walt Disney’s Favorite Composers, the Sherman Brothers, Get a Star-Filled Film Academy Salute.” Los Angeles Times, 18 June 2018, 7:55 PM PT, Accessed 26 May 2024, https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-sherman-brothers-academy-20180613-story.html.

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