A public funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. today at Culver City’s Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary for songwriting legend Robert B. Sherman.
Sherman, 86, died at his home in London Monday from what an executive with The Walt Disney Co. described as an `”age-related illness.”
Sherman, together with his 83-year-old surviving brother, Richard, was one half of the prolific songwriting team responsible for some of the world's most familiar music. In 1965, the Sherman brothers’ won two Academy Awards for Mary Poppins; Best Original Score and Best Original Song for ‘Chim Chim Cher-ee.”
They received seven other Oscar nominations for the scores for Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Tom Sawyer and The Slipper and The Rose and the songs `Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,' `The Age of Not Believing' from Bedknobs and Broomsticks, `The Slipper and The Rose' and `When You're Loved' from The Magic of Lassie.
The Sherman brothers were personally selected by Walt Disney to write songs for his films, television shows and theme park attractions. Disney asked them to write the music for three attractions at the 1964 New York World's Fair, including what would become their most famous song, ‘It's a Small World (After All).’ The song lives on at the “It's a Small World” rides at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland.
During a 10-year association with The Walt Disney Co. that began in 1960, the Sherman brothers also wrote the scores for The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh, The Parent Trap and The One and Only, Genuine Family Band.
After Disney, they wrote scores for the films Snoopy Come Home, Charlotte's Web, Huckleberry Finn' and Broadway's Over Here.
The brothers’ many honors include the National Medal of Arts, three Grammy Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Robert B. Sherman was born Dec. 19, 1925, in New York City and raised in Beverly Hills, attending Beverly Hills High School. In the early 1950s, after serving in the U.S. Army, the Sherman brothers began writing songs together on a challenge from their father Al, a successful popular songwriter in the Tin Pan Alley days.
After a series of fits and starts the brothers found themselves composing numerous top-10 tunes for teen star and original Mouseketeer Annette Funicello, including the 1959 hit ‘Tall Paul,’ the first time a woman reached a top 10 slot for a rock 'n' roll single.
In December 1960, the Sherman brothers debuted their classic rock 'n' roll song ‘You're Sixteen,’ which became Billboard's No. 1 spot when it was initially sung by Johnny Burnette and again in 1974 when sung by Ringo Starr.
‘You're Sixteen’ helped to make Funicello Disney's first musical teen star and caught the attention of Walt Disney himself and he quickly hired the brothers as staff songwriters for his studio in 1960.
Walt Disney Co. President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger called Robert B. Sherman, “one of the world's greatest songwriters and a true Disney legend.”
Following his death, Robert’s brother Richard 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.”
In addition to his brother, Robert B. Sherman is survived by his daughters Laurie and Andrea, and sons Jeffrey and Robert.
Editor's note: The accompanying photograph is from Robert Sherman's son's Facebook page, which can be found here.
- This article was compiled with information from City News Service.