The Info List - Sherman, Robert B

Robert Bernard Sherman (December 19, 1925 – March 6, 2012) was an American songwriter who specialized in musical films with his brother, Richard Morton Sherman. The Sherman brothers were responsible for more motion picture musical song scores than any other songwriting team in film history.[1] Some of the Sherman brothers' best-known songs were incorporated into live action and animation musical films including: Mary Poppins, The Happiest Millionaire, The Jungle Book, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Slipper and the Rose, and Charlotte's Web. Their best-known work is "It's a Small World (After All)," the most-performed song of all time.[2][3]

Early life

Robert Bernard Sherman was born on December 19, 1925, in New York City, to Russian Jewish immigrants, Rosa (Dancis) and Al Sherman.[4] Al Sherman, a songwriter, paid for his son’s hospital delivery costs with a royalty check that arrived that day for the song "Save Your Sorrow". His brother and songwriting partner, Richard, was born in 1928. Sherman's father was a well-known Tin Pan Alley songwriter.[5]

In his youth, Sherman excelled in violin, piano, painting and poetry. Following seven years of cross-country moves, the Shermans settled down in Beverly Hills, California. Some of the primary schools Sherman attended in Manhattan included PS 241 and the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, and in California, the El Rodeo School.[6] At Beverly Hills High School, Sherman wrote and produced radio and stage programs for which he won much acclaim. At age 16, Sherman wrote Armistice and Dedication Day, a stage play showing how American life was changed following the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. The play yielded thousands of dollars for War Bonds and earned a special citation from the War Department.[7][8]

World War II

In 1943, Sherman obtained permission from his parents to join the army at age 17.

Sherman was awarded the Purple Heart medal after being shot in the knee on April 12, 1945, an injury which forced him to walk with a cane for the rest of his life.[9]

Other medals received by Sherman for service in the war were the Combat Infantryman Badge, two Battle Stars for his European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, an American Campaign Medal, a World War II Victory Medal, and a Good Conduct Medal, and several Army Weapons Qualifications badges.[7]

While recuperating from his knee injury in Taunton and Bournemouth in England, Sherman became familiar with the United Kingdom and its culture.[10]

Awards and decorations

During World War II Robert B. Sherman received these awards:

Combat Infantry Badge.svg
Bronze star
Bronze star
ArmyQualExpertBadgeHi.jpg ArmyQualMarksmanBadgeHi.jpg ArmySharpshooter.jpg
Combat Infantry Badge
Purple Heart Good Conduct Medal
American Campaign Medal European-African-Middle Eastern
Campaign Medal

with two stars
World War II Victory Medal
Marksmanship Badges


Upon his return to the United States, Sherman attended Bard College in upstate New York where he majored in English literature and painting. Sherman served as editor-in-chief of Bard College’s campus newspaper, The Bardian. At Bard, Sherman completed his first two novels, The Best Estate and Music, Candy and Painted Eggs. He graduated in 1949.[11]

On May 12, 1990, Sherman received an honorary doctorate from Lincoln College.[12]

Songwriting career

Sherman and his brother, Richard, began writing songs together on a challenge from their father, Al Sherman, who was a Tin Pan Alley songwriter, ("No! No! A Thousand Times No!!", "You Gotta Be a Football Hero").[13]

In 1958, Sherman founded the music publishing company, Music World Corporation, which later worked with Disney's BMI publishing arm, Wonderland Music Company.[14] That same year, the Sherman brothers had their first Top 10 hit with "Tall Paul", sung by Annette Funicello. The success of this song attracted the attention of Walt Disney, who hired the Sherman Brothers as staff songwriters for Walt Disney Studios.[15] While at Disney, the Sherman Brothers wrote their most-recognized 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 Mary Poppins, Best Original Score and Best Original Song, "Chim Chim Cher-ee".[16] Since Mary Poppins' premiere, Sherman earned nine Academy Award nominations, two Grammy Awards, four Grammy Award nominations and 23 gold and platinum albums.[17]

Robert and Richard Sherman worked for Walt Disney until Disney's death in 1966. After leaving the company, the brothers worked freelance as songwriters on scores of motion pictures, television shows, theme park exhibits and stage musicals.

Their first non-Disney assignment was in 1968 in Albert R. Broccoli's motion picture Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 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 authored the screenplay.[17]

In 1976, The Slipper and the Rose was picked to be the Royal Command Performance of the year, attended by Queen Elizabeth. A musical adaptation of Cinderella, The Slipper and the Rose features both song, score and screenplay by the Sherman brothers. That same year the Sherman brothers received a star on the Hollywood "Walk of Fame" across from Grauman's Chinese Theater.[18]

Other box office film credits for the Sherman brothers 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).

In 1974, the Sherman brothers’ Tony-nominated Over Here! (1974)[19] was the highest-grossing original Broadway musical of that year. The Sherman brothers wrote popular songs, including "You're Sixteen", which reached Billboard's Top 10 twice, with Johnny Burnette in 1960 and with Ringo Starr 14 years later,[20] "Pineapple Princess" and "Let's Get Together".

Original London cast - "Janes and Michaels". Left to right (Front): Poppy Lee Friar, Jack Montgomery, Perry Millward, Harry Stott, Ben Watton, Jake Catterall, Nicola Bowman. Left to right (BACK): Charlotte Spencer, Faye Spittlehouse, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Robert B. Sherman. (Photo Date: 19 July 2004)

In 2000, the Sherman brothers wrote the score for Disney's blockbuster film The Tigger Movie, their first major motion picture for Disney in more than 28 years.

In 2002, the stage musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang became the most successful stage show produced at the London Palladium. In 2005, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang premiered on Broadway at the Foxwoods Theatre (then the Hilton Theatre). The Sherman brothers wrote an additional six songs for the new stage productions.[21]

In 2002, Sherman moved from Beverly Hills to London, England, where he continued to write and paint. In 2003, four Sherman brothers' musicals ranked in the "Top 10 Favorite Children's Films of All Time" in a British poll reported by the BBC. The Jungle Book (1967) ranked at No. 7, Mary Poppins (1964) ranked at No. 8, The Aristocats (1970) ranked at No. 9 and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) ranked at No. 1.[22]

A Disney and Cameron Mackintosh production of Mary Poppins: The Stage Musical that premiered at the Prince Edward Theatre in December 2004 featured the Sherman brothers’ classic songs.[23]

In June 2005, Sherman was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame with his brother, Richard. Also in June 2005, a tribute was paid to Sherman at the Théâtre de Vevey in Vevey, Switzerland by the Ballet Romand.[24]

In 2006, Mary Poppins opened on Broadway[25] and embarked on a world tour beginning in Göteborg, Sweden in 2008.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang embarked on a tour of 29 cities in the U.S., ending in 2009.

Personal life

Marriage and family

Sherman married Joyce Ruth Sasner in 1953. Their first child, Laurie (b. 1955) was followed by Jeffrey (b. 1957), Andrea (1960-2019) and Robert (b. 1968).[26]

After Sherman's 2002 relocation to London, he and his brother, Richard, continued to collaborate on various musical plays, as well as a feature, animated, film musicals which incorporates their original story, song score and screenplay. The brothers traveled between Los Angeles, New York and London to facilitate their work.

Sherman died in London on March 6, 2012. His wife preceded him in death by 11 years. A public memorial service and funeral was held for Sherman on March 9, 2012 at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary in Culver City.[6]

Painting and other artistry

Sherman dedicating a print of his painting, "Sacrifice" (Behind) to the Western Marble Arch Synagogue in London in 2004. Officiating was Dr. Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the British Empire and Commonwealth.

A lesser-known aspect of Sherman's life was his painting which he had done since 1941 and kept private, except from his family and friends,[27] until 2002. Sherman studied painting while attending Bard College, receiving a double degree in both Painting and English Literature. Sherman worked in various visual arts media, including clay and metal sculpture, but his focus was oil painting throughout the 1940s-1960s, when he switched to acrylics.

In April 2002, an exhibition of Sherman's paintings was held in London, England, at Thompsons' Gallery on Marylebone High Street. This marked the first public exhibition of his paintings since he started painting in 1941. Sherman exhibited his paintings in Florida and California. A series of Limited Edition Giclées of Sherman's art were published on canvas and paper.

Sherman's paintings which have appeared at the various exhibitions include: "On Route 9G" (c. 1949), "Self Portrait" (1970), "San Francisco (1970)", "Moses" (1977), "Carousel In The Country" (1982), "From the Dining Room (1982)", "Sacrifice" (1983), "Florid Window" (1984), "Geisha (1986)", "Fine Four Fendered Friend (2002)" and "Park Lane" (2003).[28] On March 4, 2007, Sherman and his son, Robbie, donated limited edition prints of "Moses" and "Sacrifice" to the Giffnock Synagogue in Glasgow, Scotland.[29] Sherman worked in metal sculpture, wrote poetry and short stories from an early age.

Achievements, honors, tributes

The Sherman Brothers receive the National Medal of Arts at The White House on November 17, 2008, (left to right: Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman and U.S. President George W. Bush)[30]

Robert B. Sherman Scholarship

In 2005, Robert Sherman established an annual scholarship award in his name through the BMI Foundation.[42] The awardee is chosen by BMI's Lehman Engel program with some consultation with Sherman. The first awardee was announced in November 2006. Awardees are chosen for their excellence in musical comedy songwriting with an emphasis on lyric writing.[42] Following is a list of the annual winners since the award's inception:

  • 2006 - Andrew Nellessen
  • 2007 - Michael Mitnick[43]
  • 2008 - (No Award This Year)
  • 2009 - Jeffrey Simno
  • 2010 - Andy Roninson[44]

Artistic tributes

List of works

Major film scores

Motion picture screenplays

Stage musicals

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

National Medal of Arts

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.

See also


  1. ^ DeMichele, Thomas (March 4, 2016). "The Sherman Brothers Wrote More Film Scores Than Any Songwriting Team: FACT". factmyth.com.
  2. ^ Corliss, Richard (April 30, 2014). "Is This the Most Played Song in Music History?". time.com.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Kubersky, Seth (January 7, 2014). "Fact-Checking Saving Mr. Banks with Disney Historian Jim Korkis". orlandoweekly.com.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "Robert B. Sherman - Joyce R. Sherman Marriage Certificate". California, County Marriages. familysearch.org. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  5. ^ Songwriters Hall of Fame: Al Sherman, Hall of Fame website.
  6. ^ a b Freedland, Mark. "Robert Sherman obituary" The Guardian, March 6, 2012
  7. ^ a b "World War II Honoree: Robert Bernard Sherman". World War II Registry. National World War II Memorial. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
  8. ^ Sherman, Robert B. (1998). Walt's Time: from before to beyond. Santa Clarita: Camphor Tree Publishers. pp. 109, 112–115.
  9. ^ Sherman, Robert B. "The Longest Years" in Walt's Time: From Before To Beyond. Santa Clarita, CA: Camphor Tree Publishers, 1998, pp. 112-113.
  10. ^ Robert B. Sherman's autobiography, MOOSE, Mouse Clubhouse.
  11. ^ Sherman, Robert B. "A Couple of Young Bards" in Walt's Time: From Before To Beyond. Santa Clarita, CA: Camphor Tree Publishers, 1998, pp. 114-115.
  12. ^ Sherman, Robert B. "The Note-able Nineties" in Walt's Time: From Before To Beyond. Santa Clarita, CA: Camphor Tree Publishers, 1998, p. 219.
  13. ^ Sherman, Robert B. "Al's Time" in Walt's Time: From Before To Beyond. Santa Clarita, CA: Camphor Tree Publishers, 1998, pg. 119.
  14. ^ Sherman, Robert B., "'Green Lights On Dopey Drive" in Moose: Chapters From My Life, p. 367
  15. ^ Hutchinson, Lydia (August 29, 2014). "The Sherman Brothers". Performing Songwriter.
  16. ^ "Mary Poppins – Soundtrack". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  17. ^ a b "The Society of Composers & Lyricists". Ambassador Program.
  18. ^ "Clients". stellarichards.com. February 11, 2011.
  19. ^ "Robert B. Sherman – Profile". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  20. ^ DeRiso, Nick (July 7, 2015). "Ringo Starr's 10 Most Historic Moments". Ultimate Classic Rock.
  21. ^ Leitch, Luke (May 17, 2005). "Chitty Chitty Bye Bye". The Standard.
  22. ^ "New Release: The Slipper and the Rose". davidspicer.com.au. February 9, 2009.
  23. ^ Billington, Michael (November 16, 2006). "Mary Poppins". The Guardian.
  24. ^ Admin (June 18, 2005). "Splendide Spectacle du Youth Ballet Au Théâtre Samedi 18 Juin 2005". vevey.ch.
  25. ^ "Mary Poppins". playbill.com. November 16, 2006.
  26. ^ Scalzo, Lisa (March 6, 2012). "Oscar®-Winning 'Mary Poppins' Songwriter Robert B. Sherman, of the Legendary Sherman Brothers, Dies in London at Age 86". reuters.com. Archived from the original on November 18, 2015.
  27. ^ Sherman, Robert B. "And It's All Me Own Work, From Me Own Memory..." in Walt's Time: From Before To Beyond. Santa Clarita, CA: Camphor Tree Publishers, 1998, pg. 210-211.
  28. ^ The Art of Robert Sherman
  29. ^ "Robert Sherman Evening at Giffnock Shul, Glasgow". giffnockshul.co.uk. March 4, 2007.
  30. ^ a b "National Medal of Arts 2008". arts.gov. Retrieved December 1, 2008.
  31. ^ Admin (June 1, 2015). "Olivier Winners 2003". olivierawards.com.
  32. ^ Desk (January 2, 2004). "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang". Evening Standard.
  33. ^ Fox, Mark (January 1, 2016). "London Palladium History". reallyusefultheatres.co.uk.
  34. ^ Songwriters Hall of Fame: Robert B. Sherman Archived September 28, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Hall of Fame website.
  35. ^ Gans, Andrew (March 3, 2013). "Broadway's Mary Poppins Flies Out Of New Amsterdam Theatre March 3". playbill.com.
  36. ^ A Chat with The Aristocats composer, Richard Sherman of the Sherman Brothers - DVD
  37. ^ Admin (April 27, 2015). "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 2005–2010 Tour Dates". thisistheatre.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  38. ^ Smith, Alistair (October 12, 2007). "Mary Poppins to Launch Tour from Theatre Royal, Plymouth". thestage.co.uk.
  39. ^ Admin (September 15, 2009). "The Sherman Brothers Songbook". allmusic.com.
  40. ^ BWW News Desk (April 5, 2010). "The Theatre Museum Awards Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, Held 5/10". broadwayworld.com. Archived from the original on September 6, 2008.
  41. ^ Sherman, "My Time (part 4)" in Moose: Chapters From My Life, p. 349
  42. ^ a b Robert Sherman Scholarship for students studying musical theatre, BMI.
  43. ^ Yale School Of Drama Student Wins BMI Foundation’s Robert Sherman Scholarship, BMI.
  44. ^ BMI Foundation Names Andy Roninson Recipient of Robert Sherman Scholarship, BMI.
  45. ^ "AuthorHouse publishes Hollywood legendary songwriter's memoirs". AuthorHouse. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013.
  46. ^ "Saving Mr. Banks - Credits". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  47. ^ Anderson, Gemma (April 21, 2014). "Review: A Spoonful of Sherman, St James Theatre". ayoungertheatre.com.
  48. ^ Honoré, Patrick. "A Spoonful of Sherman – St James Studio Theatre" Musical Theatre Review, January 19, 2014
  49. ^ Davis, Clive. "A Spoonful of Sherman at the St. James Theatre, SW1" The Times, January 15, 2014
  50. ^ BWW News Desk (July 9, 2015). "A Spoonful of Sherman: Original London Cast Recording Out Next Week". broadwayworld.com.
  51. ^ "SimG Records: A Spoonful of Sherman: Original Cast Recording". simgproductions.com. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  52. ^ Hanks-Farmer, Caroline. "A Spoonful of Sherman – Live at The Zedel until 20th August". Carns Theatre Passion. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  53. ^ "A Spoonful of Sherman". Live At Zedel (2017).
  54. ^ Hewis, Ben (June 13, 2017). "Casting announced for A Spoonful of Sherman at Live at Zedel". What's On Stage. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  55. ^ News Desk (June 14, 2017). "Cast Announced For A SPOONFUL OF SHERMAN Live at Zédel". West End Wilma. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  56. ^ BWW News Desk (December 20, 2017). "Sherman Brothers Musical to Tour UK". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  57. ^ Cheesman, Neil (December 20, 2017). "First Tour Dates Announced for A Spoonful of Sherman". London Theatre 1. Retrieved December 22, 2017. Robert J Sherman, son of Robert B. Sherman and a successful composer in his own right brings the utterly compelling story of one family’s century-long, award-winning musical journey to UK audiences in 2018.
  58. ^ Carter, Roz. "REVIEW: A SPOONFUL OF SHERMAN (Greenwich Theatre) ★★★★★". West End Wilma. Retrieved April 10, 2018. The whole show is filled with whimsy, magic and some of the most memorable songs ever written; it does the Sherman family proud. I can’t remember when I spent a more joyful or moving evening at the theatre.
  59. ^ http://www.playbill.com/news/article/a-spoonful-of-sherman-celebration-of-songs-by-three-generations-of-songwrit-215571
  60. ^ Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAY (April 5, 2016). "For new 'Jungle Book,' a classic tune got fresh lyrics". USA TODAY.
  61. ^ Garreau, Joel."Stan Lee, Olivia de Havilland Win Medal of Arts Honors",Washington Post, November 17, 2008

Further reading

External links