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Richard M. Sherman

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Title: Richard M. Sherman  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of musicals: M to Z, List of musicals: A to L, List of musicals by composer: M to Z, Mary Poppins (film), Academy Award for Best Original Score
Collection: 1928 Births, American Flautists, American Male Screenwriters, American Musical Theatre Composers, American People of Ukrainian-Jewish Descent, American Screenwriters, Bard College Alumni, Best Original Music Score Academy Award Winners, Best Original Song Academy Award Winning Songwriters, Beverly Hills High School Alumni, Disney Imagineers, Disney People, Grammy Award Winners, Jewish American Musicians, Jewish American Songwriters, Living People, Sherman Brothers, Songwriters from California, Songwriters from New York, Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductees, United States National Medal of Arts Recipients, Walt Disney Theatrical
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Richard M. Sherman

Richard M. Sherman
Sherman at the 2002 Annie Awards receiving the Winsor McCay award.
Background information
Birth name Richard Morton Sherman
Born (1928-06-12) June 12, 1928 [1]
Origin New York City, New York, United States
Genres Musical film, musical theatre, animation
Occupation(s) Composer, lyricist, screenwriter, publisher, music director
Years active 1950s–present

Richard Morton Sherman (born June 12, 1928) is an American songwriter who specialized in musical films with his brother Robert B. Sherman. According to the official Walt Disney Company website, "[the Sherman Brothers were] responsible for more motion picture musical song scores than any other songwriting team in film history."[2] Some of the Sherman Brothers' best known songs were incorporated into live action and animation musical films including: Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Slipper and the Rose, and Charlotte's Web. Their most well known work is the theme park song "It's a Small World (After All)". According to Time, this song is the most performed song of all time.[3]


  • Early life 1
  • Army service and education 2
  • Career 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Achievements, honors, tributes 5
  • List of works 6
    • Major film scores 6.1
    • Motion picture screenplays 6.2
    • Stage musicals 6.3
    • Theme park songs 6.4
  • Professional awards 7
    • Academy Awards 7.1
    • Annie Awards 7.2
    • BAFTA Awards 7.3
    • BMI 7.4
    • Christopher Award 7.5
    • Disney 7.6
    • Golden Globes 7.7
    • Golden Videocassette Award 7.8
    • Grammy Awards 7.9
    • Laurel Awards 7.10
    • Moscow Film Festival 7.11
    • National Medal of Arts 7.12
    • Olivier Awards 7.13
    • Songwriters Hall of Fame 7.14
    • Theatre Museum Award 7.15
    • Variety Club Awards 7.16
    • Walk of Fame 7.17
  • References 8
  • Bibliography 9
  • External links 10

Early life

Richard Morton Sherman was born in New York City to Russian Jewish immigrants, Rosa (Dancis) and Al Sherman.[4] 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, Sherman and classmate André Previn played a musical duet with Previn on piano and Sherman on flute. Coincidentally, in 1965 both composers won Oscars in music categories for different films.

Army service and education

In 1953 Sherman was drafted into United States Army, being assigned to the Army Band and glee club. Serving as musical conductor for both groups from 1953 until his honorable discharge in 1955, he was stationed solely in the United States during his time in the service. During this time, his brother Robert worked with other songwriters.

As a student 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, Sherman and his brother began writing songs together, answering a challenge from their father.


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.

Their first song for Disney was "Medfield Fight Song" from the 1961 film "The Absent Minded Professor".

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 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.

Personal life

Two years after his Army discharge, Sherman married Elizabeth Gluck in 1957. Together, they had two children, Gregory and Victoria. Sherman has a second daughter, Lynda (Sherman) Rothstein, from a previous marriage.

Following Robert Sherman's relocation from Beverly Hills to London, England, the brothers continued to collaborate musically. They credited the ability to do so long-distance to technology via fax, e-mail, and the low cost international telephone service. Both brothers frequently traveled between Los Angeles, New York, and London working together on various musical plays[5] until Robert's death in 2012.

Achievements, honors, tributes

The Sherman Brothers receive the The White House on November 17, 2008
  • 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 nationwide (UK) tour.
  • On Monday, November 17, 2008, Robert and Richard Sherman were awarded the East Room. The National Medal of Arts is the highest award bestowed onto artist by the United States Government.
  • In May 2009, a documentary called The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story was released. In October 2009, Disney released a 59 track, two CD compendium of their work for the studio spanning forty-two years. The CD is entitled The Sherman Brothers Songbook.
  • In 2010 Sherman released "Forgotten Dreams," a CD of his piano music. Sherman also wrote "Make Way For Tomorrow Today," which can be heard in the score for the movie Iron Man 2.[6]
  • On May 17, 2010 the Sherman Brothers received the "Career Achievement Award" at The Theatre Museum's 2010 Awards Gala in New York City.[7]
  • On May 21, 2011, the Sherman Brothers were each awarded honorary doctorate degrees in Fine Arts from their alma mater, Bard College.
  • In 2013 Richard was musical consultant for the live-action production of The Jungle Book at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, IL.
  • In 2014 the Sherman Brothers, alongside their father, Al Sherman were the subjects of a London musical concert entitled, A Spoonful of Sherman hosted by Richard's nephew, Robert J. Sherman. The concert received generally very positive reviews including four stars from the London Times. A CD produced by Nick Lloyd Webber will be released by SimG Records in 2015 and a UK tour is purportedly being worked on.[8]

List of works

Major film scores

Motion picture screenplays

Stage musicals

The London Palladium in 2004

Theme park songs

Professional awards

Academy Awards

Annie Awards

BAFTA Awards


  • 1977 "Pioneer Award" awarded in Los Angeles, California.
  • 1991 "Lifetime Achievement Award" awarded at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, California.

Christopher Award


Golden Globes

Golden Videocassette Award

Grammy Awards

Laurel Awards

Moscow Film Festival

  • 1973 First Place Award in the category of "Best Music" for Tom Sawyer

National Medal of Arts

  • 2008 United States Government bestows on artists.[10]

Olivier Awards

Songwriters Hall of Fame

  • 2005 induction at the Marriott Hotel on Times Square in New York City.

Theatre Museum Award

  • 2010 Career Achievement Award presented on May 17, 2010 at The Players Club in New York City.

Variety Club Awards

Walk of Fame

  • 1976 A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame awarded to "Richard & Robert Sherman" on November 17, 1976, located at 6914 Hollywood Blvd.


  1. ^ "Today in history".  
  2. ^®-winning-mary-poppins-songwriter-robert-b-sherman-legendary
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Sherman Brothers Working on New Musical Merry-Go-Round". 2005-08-29. Retrieved 2014-07-04. 
  6. ^ " | The Official Disney Fan Club". Retrieved 2014-07-04. 
  7. ^ "Press". The Theatre Museum. Retrieved 2014-07-04. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Garreau, Joel."Stan Lee, Olivia de Havilland Win Medal of Arts Honors",Washington Post, November 17, 2008


External links

  • Audio interview with Richard M. Sherman on the Sodajerker On Songwriting podcast
  • Walt's Time
  • Sherman Music
  • Audio Interview with Richard M. Sherman on the WDW Radio Show by Lou Mongello
  • Richard M. Sherman at the Internet Broadway Database
  • Richard M. Sherman at the Internet Movie Database
  • Richard M. Sherman at SoundUnwound

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