Richard M. Sherman (born June 12, 1928) (see also: "Sherman Brothers") is an Academy Award-winning Jewish-American songwriter who specializes in musical film with his brother Robert B. Sherman. Some of the Sherman Brothers' best known writing includes the songs from Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Slipper and the Rose and the theme park song, "It's a Small World (after all)".
Richard Morton Sherman was born on June 12, 1928 in New York City to parents, Rosa (pronounced: "Rose") & Al Sherman. Together with his older brother Robert, "The Sherman Brothers" would eventually follow in their songwriting father's footsteps to form one of the most prolific, lauded and long lasting songwriting partnerships of all time.
Richard was an enthusiastic and energetic child and youth, still bearing that trademark trait well into his seventies. Following seven years of frequent cross-country moves, the Shermans finally settled down in Beverly Hills, California in 1937. Throughout 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 Summer 1946 graduation from Beverly Hills High School, Richard played a musical duet with André Previn: Previn (played piano) accompanying Sherman (who played flute). Coincidentally, in 1965 both composers won Oscars for different films, both winning in musical categories.
At Bard College, Richard majored in Music, writing numerous sonatas and "art songs" during his time there but it was Richard's ambition to write the "Great American Symphony" which eventually led him to write songs.
Within two years of graduating, Richard and brother Robert began writing songs together on a challenge from their father, songwriter Al Sherman.
In 1953 Richard was drafted into United States Army joining the band and glee club. Richard served as a musical conductor both groups and remained in the U.S. during his time in the service. He was not in combat. During this time, collaborator brother, Robert, worked with other songwriters. In 1955 Sherman was honorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
Marriage & Family
In 1957 Richard married Elizabeth Gluck with whom he had two children: Gregory and Victoria. Lynda (Sherman) Rothstein is his daughter from a previous marriage.
In 1958 the Sherman Brothers had their first "Top Ten" hit with "Tall Paul", sung by Mouseketeer, Annette Funicello. The success of this song yielded 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 is perhaps their most well loved song: it's a small world (after all) for the 1964 New York World's Fair. Since then, "Small World" has become the most translated and performed song on earth.
In 1965, the Sherman Brothers won 2 Academy Awards for Mary Poppins (1964), which includes the songs "Feed The Birds", "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and the Oscar winner, "Chim Chim Cher-ee". Since Mary Poppins' premiere, the Sherman Brothers have subsequently earned 9 Academy Award nominations, 2 Grammy Awards, 4 Grammy Award nominations and an 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 authored 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 the 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 of the motion picture realm, their Tony nominated smash hit, Over Here! (1974) was the biggest 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 #1 spot twice; first with Johnny Burnette in 1960 and then with Ringo Starr fourteen years later. Other top-ten hits include, "Pineapple Princess", "Let's Get Together" and more.
In 2000, the Sherman Brothers wrote the song score for Disney's blockbuster film: The Tigger Movie (2000). This film marked the brothers' first major motion picture for the Disney company in over twenty eight years.
In 2002, Chitty hit the London stage and received rave revues. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is currently the most successful stage show ever produced at the London Palladium boasting the longest run in that century old theatre's history. In Spring 2005 a second Chitty company premiered on Broadway (New York City) at the Hilton Theatre. The Sherman Brothers wrote an additional six songs specifically for the new stage productions.
In 2003, four Sherman Brothers' musicals ranked in the "Top 10 Favorite Children's Films of All Time" in a (British) nationwide poll reported by 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 premier at the Prince Edward Theatre in December 2004 and features the Sherman Brothers classic songs.
The Sherman Brothers' classic motion picture, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was adapted into a London West End Musical in 2002 and premiered at the London Palladium on April 16, 2002 featuring many new songs and a reworked score by both Sherman Brothers. It was nominated for a 2003 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best New Musical. The Sherman Brothers each received the "Musical Theatre Award" from the Variety Club of Great Britain that year as well for Chitty. Chitty finished a record breaking, three and a half year run at the Palladium becoming the longest running show in the theatre's century long history. 2004 saw the premiere of Mary Poppins on the stage. In 2005, Poppins was nominated for nine Olivier Awards. In 2005 Chitty went to Broadway and was nominated for 9 Tonys and also began its nation wide (UK) tour.
On June 9, 2005, Sherman was inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame alongside Bill Withers, Steve Cropper, John Fogerty, Isaac Hayes, David Porter and his brother, Robert B. Sherman.
In 2006, Richard Sherman, along with his brother Robert began preproduction on the film project Inkas the Ramferinkas and on November 16, 2006 and Mary Poppins is scheduled to premiere on Broadway in the same theatre where the Lion King currently plays.
Motion picture screenplays
Theme park songs