- - Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Robert B. Sherman, one-half of the prolific, award-winning pair of brothers who penned instantly memorable songs for “Mary Poppins,” “The Jungle Book” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” - as well as the most-played tune on Earth, “It’s a Small World (After All)” - has died. He was 86.

According to the Associated Press, Mr. Sherman’s agent, Stella Richards, said Tuesday that he died peacefully in London on Monday.

Mr. Sherman, together with his brother Richard, won two Academy Awards for Walt Disney’s 1964 smash “Mary Poppins” - best score and best song, “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” They also picked up a Grammy for best movie or TV score.

Their hundreds of credits as joint lyricist and composer also include the films “Winnie the Pooh,” “The Slipper and the Rose,” “Snoopy Come Home,” “Charlotte’s Web” and “The Magic of Lassie.” Their Broadway musicals included 1974’s “Over Here!” and stagings of “Mary Poppins” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” in the mid-2000s.

Son Jeffrey Sherman wrote on Facebook that his father “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,” his son wrote. “Forever his songs and his genius will bring hope, joy and love to this small, small world.”

Kim Novak clarifies criticism of ‘The Artist’

Kim Novak is clarifying why she used the word “rape” to describe how she felt about “The Artist.”

The 79-year-old “Vertigo” actress, who will be honored next month at the TCM Classic Film Festival, said during a phone interview with the Associated Press Monday that hearing the score from the Alfred Hitchcock film used in the recent Oscar-winning homage to the silent-film era reminded her of the same feelings she experienced when she was raped as a child.

“It was very painful,” Miss Novak said. “When I said it was like a rape, that was how it felt to me. I had experienced in my youth being raped, and so I identified with a real act that had been done to me. I didn’t use that word lightly.”

Miss Novak, who played the dual role of both a suicidal trophy wife and a morose working girl opposite Jimmy Stewart in the 1958 thriller, said in a statement released in January by her manager that she wanted “to report a rape” and that the filmmakers of “The Artist” had no reason “to depend on Bernard Herrmann’s score from ‘Vertigo’ to provide more drama.”

Miss Novak’s comments drew criticism from rape crisis groups, which noted that plagiarism was not the same as a sexual assault.

“I never reported my real rape, so I felt the need to report this one,” Miss Novak said. “I felt that someone needed to speak up because the music has been taken advantage of too much. I hope that in the future, maybe somehow it will do some good.”

Michel Hazanavicius, the writer-director of “The Artist,” which won five Academy Awards last month, including best picture and original score, responded to Miss Novak in January, noting that the film was “a love letter to cinema” and that he loves “Bernard Herrmann, and his music has been used in many different films, and I’m very pleased to have it in mine.”

Miss Novak said the motion picture academy sent her a letter disapproving of her making the statement while “The Artist” was in Oscar contention. She acknowledged that after getting “over the shock” that the “Vertigo” love theme was used in “The Artist,” she actually enjoyed the film and thought it deserved its Oscar glory - except for the best-original-score trophy.

Garcia Marquez masterpiece to be published as e-book

Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez was to celebrate his 85th birthday Tuesday with a special gift: the start of sales of an electronic version of his masterpiece novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”

“I do not know if it will be as successful as hoped, but it is the goal,” said Carmen Balcells, Mr. Garcia Marquez’s literary agent, in an interview Monday with Colombian Radio Caracol.

This year also marks the 30th anniversary since Mr. Garcia Marquez received the Nobel Prize for literature.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” already has sold 30 million copies worldwide, according to Agence France-Presse. It tells the saga of a troubled family of Macondo, an imaginary village, in the 19th and 20th centuries. It has been translated into 35 languages.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” is Mr. Garcia Marquez’s fourth book published electronically.

Garth Brooks named to country hall of fame

Country superstar Garth Brooks, singer Connie Smith and keyboard player Hargus “Pig” Robbins are the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Associated Press reports.

The announcement was made Tuesday morning at a news conference at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn.

Mr. Brooks took country music to a new level over a 15-year period, becoming the top-selling solo artist in the U.S., with more than 128 million albums sold.

Miss Smith, the wife of country singer Marty Stuart, is among a pioneering wave of female singers who helped lay the foundation for today’s success by women in country music. And Mr. Robbins has been considered among the top session players in Nashville over a 50-year career that’s included work for everyone from George Jones to Bob Dylan.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.

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