Richard M. Sherman

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Richard M. Sherman
Sherman at the 2002 Annie Awards receiving the Winsor McCay award.
Background information
Birth nameRichard Morton Sherman
Born(1928-06-12) June 12, 1928 (age 86)[1]
OriginNew York City, New York, United States
GenresMusical film, musical theatre, animation
OccupationsComposer, lyricist, screenwriter, publisher, music director
Years active1950s–present
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For other people named Richard Sherman, see Richard Sherman (disambiguation).
Richard M. Sherman
Sherman at the 2002 Annie Awards receiving the Winsor McCay award.
Background information
Birth nameRichard Morton Sherman
Born(1928-06-12) June 12, 1928 (age 86)[1]
OriginNew York City, New York, United States
GenresMusical film, musical theatre, animation
OccupationsComposer, lyricist, screenwriter, publisher, music director
Years active1950s–present

Richard Morton Sherman (born June 12, 1928) is an American songwriter and music director who specialized in musical film with his late brother Robert Bernard Sherman.

Some of the Sherman Brothers' best-known writing includes the songs from Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Slipper and the Rose, and the Disney theme park song "It's a Small World (After All)".

Early life[edit]

Richard Morton Sherman was born in New York City to Russian Jewish immigrants, Rosa and Al Sherman. Together with his older brother Robert, "The Sherman Brothers" eventually followed in their songwriting father's footsteps to form a long-lasting songwriting partnership.

Following seven years of frequent cross-country moves, the Sherman family finally settled down in Beverly Hills, California in 1937. During Richard's years at Beverly Hills High School, he became fascinated with music and studied several instruments, including the flute, piccolo, and piano.

At his 1946 graduation from Beverly Hills High School, Richard Sherman and André Previn played a musical duet. Previn played piano and Sherman played flute. Coincidentally, in 1965 both composers won Oscars in music categories for different films.

At Bard College, Sherman majored in Music, writing numerous sonatas and "art songs". His ambition to write the "Great American Symphony" eventually led him to write songs. Within two years of graduating, Richard and Robert Sherman began writing songs together on a challenge from their father, songwriter Al Sherman.

In 1953 Sherman was drafted into United States Army, joining the band and glee club. He served as a musical conductor for both groups and remained in the U.S. during his time in the service. During this time, his brother Robert worked with other songwriters. In 1955, Sherman was honorably discharged from the armed forces. In 1957 Sherman married Elizabeth Gluck, with whom he had two children: Gregory and Victoria. Lynda (Sherman) Rothstein is his daughter from a previous marriage.


(Left to right) Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman and Walt Disney sing "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow"

In 1958 the Sherman Brothers had their first Top Ten hit with "Tall Paul", sung by Mouseketeer Annette Funicello. The success of this song got the attention of Walt Disney, who eventually hired the Sherman brothers as staff songwriters for Walt Disney Studios.

While at Disney, the Sherman Brothers wrote what may be their most successful song: "It's a Small World (After All)," for the 1964 New York World's Fair.

In 1965, the Sherman Brothers won two Academy Awards for the film Mary Poppins (1964), which includes the songs "Feed The Birds," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," and the Oscar winner, "Chim Chim Cher-ee." After Mary Poppins, the Sherman Brothers won nine Academy Award nominations, two Grammy Awards, four Grammy Award nominations and 23 gold and platinum albums.

The Shermans worked directly for Walt Disney until Disney's death in 1966. Since leaving the company, the brother songwriting team has worked freelance on scores of motion pictures, television shows, theme park exhibits and stage musicals.

Their first non-Disney assignment came with Albert R. Broccoli's motion picture production Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1968, which garnered the brothers their third Academy Award Nomination. In 1973, the Sherman Brothers made history by becoming the only Americans ever to win First Prize at the Moscow Film Festival for Tom Sawyer, for which they also wrote the screenplay.

The Slipper and the Rose was chosen as the Royal Command Performance of 1976 and was attended by Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. A modern musical adaptation of the classic Cinderella story, "Slipper" also features both song-score and screenplay by the Sherman Brothers. That same year the Sherman Brothers received their star on the Hollywood "Walk of Fame" directly across from Grauman's Chinese Theater.

Their numerous other Disney and non-Disney top box office film credits include The Jungle Book (1967), The Aristocats (1970), The Parent Trap (1961), The Parent Trap (1998), Charlotte's Web (1973), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977), Snoopy, Come Home (1972), Bedknobs And Broomsticks (1971), and Little Nemo: Adventures In Slumberland (1992).

Outside the motion picture realm, their Tony-nominated play, Over Here! (1974) was the highest-grossing original Broadway musical of that year. The Sherman Brothers have also written numerous top-selling songs, including "You're Sixteen," which holds the distinction of reaching Billboard's Top Ten twice, first with Johnny Burnette in 1960 and then with Ringo Starr fourteen years later. Other top-ten hits include "Pineapple Princess" and "Let's Get Together."

In 2000, the Sherman Brothers wrote the song score for Disney's film The Tigger Movie, marking the brothers' first work for a Disney major motion picture in over twenty eight years. In 2002, a a stage version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, featuring six new songs from the Sherman Brothers, premiered at the London Palladium. It is currently the longest-running in that theater's history. In 2005, the musical premiered on Broadway at the Hilton Theatre.

In 2003, four Sherman Brothers' musicals ranked in the "Top 10 Favorite Children's Films of All Time" in a nationwide poll, according to the BBC. The Jungle Book (1967)_ranked at #7, Mary Poppins (1964) ranked at #8, The Aristocats (1970) ranked at #9 and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) topped the list at #1.

A new Disney and Cameron Mackintosh production of Mary Poppins: The Stage Musical made its world premiere at the Prince Edward Theatre in December 2004, featuring the Sherman Brothers' songs. The show went on to successful runs in New York and Los Angeles.

Recent years[edit]

The Sherman Brothers receive the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor bestowed upon artists from the United States Government. (left to right Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman and U.S. President George W. Bush at The White House on November 17, 2008

Collaboration from afar[edit]

From 2002 onwards, Robert Sherman lived in London, England. He moved from Beverly Hills, while Richard Sherman remained in California. The geographical separation did not impede the brothers' collaborative process. The brothers credited this to fax, e-mail, and the low cost international telephone service. Both brothers frequently traveled between Los Angeles, New York, and London for their work. After Robert's move, the brothers continued to collaborate on various musical plays[4] until Robert's death in 2012.

Major film scores[edit]

Motion picture screenplays[edit]

Stage musicals[edit]

The London Palladium in 2004

Theme park songs[edit]

Professional awards[edit]

Academy Awards[edit]

Annie Awards[edit]

BAFTA Awards[edit]


Christopher Award[edit]


Golden Globes[edit]

Golden Videocassette Award[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Laurel Awards[edit]

Moscow Film Festival[edit]

National Medal of Arts[edit]

Olivier Awards[edit]

Songwriters Hall of Fame[edit]

Theatre Museum Award[edit]

Variety Club Awards[edit]

Walk of Fame[edit]


  1. ^ "Today in history". ABC News. Associated Press. June 12, 2014. 
  2. ^ " | The Official Disney Fan Club". Retrieved 2014-07-04. 
  3. ^ "Press". The Theatre Museum. Retrieved 2014-07-04. 
  4. ^ "Sherman Brothers Working on New Musical Merry-Go-Round". 2005-08-29. Retrieved 2014-07-04. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Garreau, Joel."Stan Lee, Olivia de Havilland Win Medal of Arts Honors",Washington Post, November 17, 2008


External links[edit]