Mary Poppins songwriter Richard Sherman was ‘a class act and a gentleman’

The American musician died aged 95 on Saturday due to age-related illness.

Mary Poppins songwriter Richard Sherman remembered ‘a class act and a gentleman’ after death PA Media

Mary Poppins songwriter Richard M Sherman has been remembered as a “class act” and a “gentleman” after his death at the age of 95.

The US musician and his brother Robert created the songs for the hit musical as well as The Jungle Book and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The Walt Disney company said on Saturday that he had died due to age-related illness. Robert died in London aged 86 in 2012.

The brothers wrote more than 150 songs at Disney, including the soundtracks for such films as The Sword And The Stone, The Parent Trap, Bedknobs And Broomsticks, The Aristocrats and The Tigger Movie.

In a statement, Mary Poppins theatre producer Sir Cameron Anthony Mackintosh said: “The great Richard Sherman wrote instantly infectious, joyous songs to lift the heart. His iconic score for Mary Poppins, written with his brother Bob, will be enchanting audiences around the world forever more.

“He was also one of the great gentlemen of showbusiness, always charming, supportive and kind. We will all miss you, Dick – you are truly supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

The song Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious was created by the Sherman brothers and sung by Julie Andrews, who played Poppins, and Dick Van Dyke as the chimney sweep Bert.

George Stiles, who composed additional music for the stage version of Mary Poppins, wrote on Instagram that Sherman “gave the world a songbook of joy, laughter, love and hope”.

He added that the veteran composer did not “resent” him and his collaborator, lyricist Anthony Drewe, and they “became great friends”.

“I shall miss this brilliant, beautiful human,” he said. “Love to all the Sherman family. Rest assured his legacy is as assured as long as people sing songs and tell stories. Rest in peace dear Dick x.”

The Sherman brothers won two Oscars for Walt Disney’s 1964 hit Mary Poppins — best score and best song for Chim Chim Cher-ee — and a Grammy for best original score written for a motion picture.

American composer Alan Menken, whose music features in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Pocahontas, called Sherman “such a class act, a sweet man and a beautiful songwriter”.

“We were all so blessed to have had him in our lives,” he wrote on Instagram. “All my love and prayers to (his wife) Elizabeth and his family.”

Sherman is survived by his wife, their two children Gregory and Victoria, and a daughter from a previous marriage, Lynda.

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