Richard Morton Sherman is an American composer, lyricist, screenwriter, publisher, and songwriter, who specialized in writing for musical films with his brother, Robert B. Sherman, known as the Sherman Brothers.
Some of the Sherman Brothers' best-known writing includes the songs from Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, the Winnie the Pooh franchise, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and the Disney theme park songs "It's a Small World" 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 (along with Richard's brother, Robert) 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, 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 2000, the Sherman Brothers wrote songs for Disney's blockbuster film, The Tigger Movie (2000). This film marked the brothers' first major motion picture for the Walt Disney Company in over 28 years.
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.
During a London press junket promoting the 40th anniversary DVD re-release 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 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 Main Street 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.
On January 10, 2014, in a surprise unveiling, the backstage dressing room at the El Capitan theater in Hollywood, CA was formally dedicated the Sherman Brothers Dressing Room. Also in 2014, he and his brother's songs and life stories were tributed in a stage musical called A Spoonful of Sherman. In 2015 an original cast recording of the show was released. The show was revived several times over the next few years and it toured the UK and Ireland in 2018.
In 2015, Sherman composed a new song "A Kiss Goodnight" as the exit music for the Disneyland Forever fireworks show that ran during the park's 60th anniversary celebration. The songs's title references Walt Disney's idea that the Disneyland fireworks show were "a kiss goodnight".
In 2018, Sherman marked his 90th birthday with a star-studded retrospective celebration of the Sherman Brothers songbook at the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, CA.
Sherman contributed three new songs for the live-action Winnie The Pooh film: Christopher Robin, and performs "Busy Doing Nothing" in an end-credits scene. On July 30, 2018, Soundstage A at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, CA, where many of the Sherman Brothers songs were recorded, was officially renamed the Sherman Brothers Stage.
- Sherman, along with his brother, was inducted as a Disney Legend in 1990. Their plaques are presented together on the same post at the Team -- Disney Michael D. Eisner Building.
- Sherman is the first songwriter to return in a Disney live-action adaptation of an animated film/franchise, followed by Alan Menken.
- He is also the first non-composer songwriter to return, as, while he re-wrote some lyrics of the song "I Wan'na Be Like You" for the 2016 remake of The Jungle Book and wrote songs for Christopher Robin, the scores for both films were written by John Debney and Jon Brion & Geoff Zanelli, respectively, while Menken both wrote songs and composed the score for the live-action adaptations in which he was involved.
- For the 2010 superhero film, Iron Man 2, Sherman wrote the theme song for the Stark Expo "Make Way for Tomorrow Today" which has been noted for its similarities to "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow", also written by Sherman and his brother, Robert. The Expo itself is noted for many references to Walt Disney's involvement with the 1964 Disney World's Fair, especially the Carousel of Progress.
- He is not to be confused with the cornerback of the same name.
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