Richard M. Sherman

Richard M. Sherman

Birthday: June 12, 1928
Born Place: New York City, New York, USA
Birth Name: Richard Morton Sherman

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Richard Morton Sherman was born in the spring of 1928 in New York City to Rosa and Al Sherman. Together with his older brother, Robert B. Sherman, the Sherman brothers would 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 and Bard College in upstate New York, he became fascinated with music and studied several instruments including the flute, piccolo and piano. At Bard, Richard majored in music and wrote 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 his brother Robert began writing songs together on a challenge from their father. In 1957, Richard married Elizabeth Gluck with whom he had three children. In 1958, the Sherman brothers enjoyed their first hit with their song, “Tall Paul”, sung by Mouseketeer Annette Funicello. The success of this song yielded the attention of Walt Disney, who eventually hired the Sherman brothers on 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 New York World’s Fair in 1964. 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 (1964)’ motion picture premiere, the Sherman brothers have subsequently earned nine Academy Award nominations, two Grammy Awards, four Grammy Award nominations, and an incredible 23 gold and platinum albums.

Robert and Richard worked directly for Walt Disney until his 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 (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 (1973). They also authored the screenplay for “Tom Sawyer”.

In 1976, The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella (1976), was picked to be the Royal Command Performance of the year, and the event was attended by Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. A modern musical adaptation of the classic Cinderella story, “Slipper” also features both songscore 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), 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 (1989).

Outside 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 brother’s first major motion picture for the Disney company in over 28 years.

In 2002, “Chitty” hit the London stage and received rave revues. “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Stage Musical” is currently the most successful stage show ever produced at the London Palladium. In 2005, a second company will premiere on Broadway (New York City). 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.

Richard Sherman resides in Beverly Hills, California with his wife, Elizabeth.

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