Some of the Sherman Brothers' best-known writing includes the songs from Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and the Disney theme park songs It's a Small World (after all) and There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.
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. 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 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 1965, the Sherman Brothers won 2 Academy Awards for Mary Poppins, including "Feed the Birds", "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", and the Oscar winner, "Chim Chim Cher-ee". Since Mary Poppins' premiere, Robert B. Sherman has subsequently earned 9 Academy Award nominations, 2 Grammy Awards, 4 Grammy Award nominations and 23 gold and platinum albums.
Robert and Richard Sherman worked directly for Walt Disney until Disney's death in 1966. Since 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 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 picked to be the Royal Command Performance of the year and was attended by Her Majesty, 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.
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 and The Aristocats (1970) ranked at #9.
Disney and Cameron Mackintosh's musical production of Mary Poppins made its world premiere at the Prince Edward Theatre in December 2004 and features the Sherman Brothers' classic songs.
During a London press junket promoting the 40th anniversary DVD rerelease of The Jungle Book, Robert and Richard Sherman were witnessed by press working on a new song for Inkas in the same Brown's Hotel room where The Jungle Book was originally penned by the British writer, Rudyard Kipling, over a hundred years earlier.
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".
On March 11, 2010 the Sherman Brothers were presented with a Window on Mainstreet Disneyland in Anaheim, California in honor of their contribution to Disney theme parks. On May 17, 2010 the "Career Achievement Award" at The Theatre Museum's 2010 Awards Gala.
Sherman contributed new lyrics for The Jungle Book.
- For the 2010 superhero film Iron Man 2, Richard wrote the theme song for Stark Expo "Make Way for Tomorrow Today" which has been noted for it similarities to There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, also written by Richard and his brother. The Expo itself noted for many references to Walt Disney's involvement with the 1964 World's Fair, especially the Carousel of Progress.
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