Richard M. Sherman
Sherman in 2014
Richard Morton Sherman

(1928-06-12) June 12, 1928 (age 95)
New York City, U.S.
Alma materBard College
Occupation(s)Composer, lyricist, screenwriter, publisher, music director
Years active1950–present
Elizabeth Gluck
(m. 1957)
Parent(s)Al Sherman
Rosa (Dancis) Sherman
RelativesRobert B. Sherman (brother)
Robert J. Sherman (nephew)
Musical career
GenresMusical film, musical theatre, animation music

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 and independent fact checkers, "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 Sword in the Stone , The Jungle Book, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Snoopy Come Home, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Slipper and the Rose, and Charlotte's Web.

Their most well known work, however, remains "It's a Small World (After All)", written for the theme park attraction of the same name. According to Time, it may be the most (publicly) performed song in history.[2][3]

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 high school graduation, Sherman and classmate André Previn played a musical duet with Previn on piano and Sherman on flute.[citation needed] The Sherman Brothers later won a 1964 Oscar for Music Score – Substantially Original for Mary Poppins[5] and a second for Best Original Song for "Chim Chim Cher-ee".[6]

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 Robert began writing songs together on a challenge from their father, Al Sherman, a successful popular songwriter in the "Tin Pan Alley" days ("No! No! A Thousand Times No!!", "You Gotta Be a Football Hero").[7]

In 1958, Sherman's brother Robert founded the music publishing company, Music World Corporation, which later worked with Disney's BMI publishing arm, Wonderland Music Company.[8] That same year, the Sherman Brothers had their first Top Ten hit with "Tall Paul", which was sung by Annette Funicello. The success of this song attracted the attention of Walt Disney who eventually hired the Sherman Brothers as Staff Songwriters for Walt Disney Studios.[9] While at Disney, the Sherman Brothers wrote what is perhaps 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 2 Academy Awards for Mary Poppins – Best Original Score, which included "Feed The Birds", "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"; and Best Original Song, "Chim Chim Cher-ee".[10] Since Mary Poppins' premiere, Robert B. Sherman subsequently earned 9 Academy Award nominations, 2 Grammy Awards, 4 Grammy Award nominations and 23 gold and platinum albums.[11]

Robert and Richard Sherman worked directly 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 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.[11]

The Slipper and the Rose was picked to be the Royal Command Performance of the year and was attended by Queen Elizabeth. 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.[12]

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 Over Here! (1974)[13] 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 Top Ten twice; first with Johnny Burnette in 1960 and then with Ringo Starr fourteen years later.[14] 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 brothers' first major motion picture for the Disney company in over 28 years.[15]

The Shermans smiling
Robert (left) and Richard in 2002

In 2002, the stage musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang premiered in London. It was the most successful stage show ever produced at the London Palladium, boasting the longest run in that century-old theatre's history. In early 2005 a second Chitty company premiered on Broadway (New York City) at the Foxwoods Theatre (then the Hilton Theatre). The Sherman Brothers wrote an additional six songs specifically for the new stage productions.[16]

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.[17]

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 and features the Sherman Brothers classic songs.[18]

In June 2005, Richard M. Sherman was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame with his brother. Chitty opened on Broadway in 2005 and commenced its first full UK tour in December 2005 with subsequent tours and/or tour dates in each year since. Mary Poppins opened on Broadway in 2006.[19]

In 2008 Mary Poppins embarked on a UK tour as well as a world tour beginning in Göteborg, Sweden. Chitty embarked on a tour of 29 cities in the U.S. which ended in 2009.

Recently, Sherman once again collaborated with Disney in three of its live-action films, having rewritten the song "I Wan'na Be Like You" for Jon Favreau's 2016 remake of The Jungle Book. As the film featured the song's performer, King Louie, as a Gigantopithecus, Sherman rewrote it to fit the character's depiction.[20] He also wrote three new songs for the 2018 film Christopher Robin,[21] titled "Goodbye Farewell", "Busy Doing Nothing", and "Christopher Robin",[22] the last two performed by Sherman.[22] Sherman also acted as a music consultant for Mary Poppins Returns, the sequel to Mary Poppins.[23] Sherman will also write new songs for the upcoming musical stage adaptation of The Jungle Book.[24]

By May 2023, a feature film development deal on the Sherman Brothers' animation musical Inkas the Ramferinkas was announced.[25]

Personal life

In the late 1940s, while Richard was attending Bard college, he was briefly married to Corrine Newman. They had one child, Lynda. In 1957 Richard married Ursula Elizabeth Gluck; the couple had two children, Gregory Vincent and Victoria Lynn. Sherman has six grandchildren.

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[26] until Robert's death in 2012.

Richard and Elizabeth have been married for over 60 years and remain active. They continue to live in Beverly Hills, California.

Achievements, honors, tributes

This section is in list format but may read better as prose. You can help by converting this section, if appropriate. Editing help is available. (January 2022)
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)[27]

List of works

Major film scores

Motion picture screenplays

Stage musicals

The London Palladium in 2004
Prince Edward Theatre in 2005
New Amsterdam Theatre in 2007

Theme park songs

Professional awards

Award Year Film Category Result
Academy Awards 1964 Mary Poppins Best Original Song

for "Chim Chim Cher-ee" (shared with Robert B. Sherman)

Best Music Score-Substantially Original

(shared with Robert B. Sherman)

1968 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Best Original Song

for "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (shared with Robert B. Sherman)

1971 Bedknobs and Broomsticks Best Original Song

for "The Age of Not Believing" (shared with Robert B. Sherman)

Best Scoring Adaptation and Original Song Score

(song score by Richard M. Sherman & Robert B. Sherman, adaptation score by Irwin Kostal)

1973 Tom Sawyer Best Scoring Adaptation and Original Song Score

(song score by Richard M. Sherman & Robert B. Sherman, adaptation score by John WIlliams)

1977 The Slipper and the Rose Best Original Song

for "The Slipper and the Rose Waltz (He/She Danced with Me)" (shared with Robert B. Sherman)

Best Original Song Score & Its Adaptation Or Best Adaptation Score

(song score by Richard M. Sherman & Robert B. Sherman, adaptation score by Angela Morley)

1978 The Magic of Lassie Best Original Song

for "When You're Loved" (shared with Robert B. Sherman)

Annie Awards 2000 The Tigger Movie Music in an Animated Feature Production"

for "Round My Family Tree" (shared with Robert B. Sherman)

2003 Winsor McCay Award "for lifetime achievement and contribution to animation" Honored
BAFTA Awards 1977 The Slipper and the Rose Anthony Asquith Award for Original Film Music Nominated
BMI Film & TV Awards 1977 Pioneer Award Honored
1991 Lifetime Achievement Award Honored
Christopher Awards 1964 Mary Poppins Best Original Song Score Nominated
1973 Tom Sawyer Nominated
Golden Globe Awards 1964 Mary Poppins Best Original Score Nominated
1968 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Nominated
Best Original Song

for "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (shared with Robert B. Sherman)

1973 Tom Sawyer Best Original Score Nominated
1977 The Slipper and the Rose Nominated
Grammy Awards 1964 Mary Poppins Best Original Score for a Motion Picture or Television Show Won
Best Recording for Children Won
1966 Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree Nominated
1967 The Jungle Book Nominated
1968 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Nominated
1970 The Aristocats Nominated
1973 Snoopy Come Home Best Original Score for a Children's Show Nominated
1975 Over Here! Best Original Score for a Musical Show Nominated
Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too! Best Recording for Children Won
Hollywood Music in Media Awards 2023 Mushka Original Song-Short Film Won
Laurel Awards 1964 Mary Poppins Best Song

for "Chim Chim Cher-ee" (shared with Robert B. Sherman)

1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st Place
Music Men Award 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 2nd Place
1973 Tom Sawyer Best Original Score 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 3rd Place
Laurence Olivier Awards 2002 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Best New Musical Nominated
Moscow Film Festival 1973 Tom Sawyer Best Music Won
Variety Club Awards 2003 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Best Musical Won
Sherman in 2003 at the Annie Award


  1. ^ DeMichele, Thomas (March 4, 2016). "The Sherman Brothers Wrote More Film Scores Than Any Songwriting Team: FACT".
  2. ^ Corliss, Richard (April 30, 2014) (April 30, 2014). "Is This the Most Played Song in Music History?". web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Kubersky, Seth (January 7, 2014). "Fact-Checking Saving Mr. Banks with Disney Historian Jim Korkis". web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "Person Details for Richard Morton Sherman, "California, County Marriages, 1850-1952" –". FamilySearch.
  5. ^ Oscars (May 10, 2013). "The Sherman Brothers winning the Oscar® for Music Score for "Mary Poppins"". Retrieved March 2, 2019 – via YouTube.
  6. ^ Oscars (November 12, 2013). ""Chim Chim Cher-ee" Wins Original Song: 1965 Oscars". Retrieved March 2, 2019 – via YouTube.
  7. ^ Sherman, Robert B. "Al's Time" in Walt's Time: From Before To Beyond. Santa Clarita, CA: Camphor Tree Publishers, 1998, pg. 119.
  8. ^ Sherman, Robert B., "'Green Lights On Dopey Drive" in Moose: Chapters From My Life, p. 367
  9. ^ Hutchinson, Lydia (August 29, 2014). "The Sherman Brothers". Performing Songwriter.
  10. ^ "Mary Poppins – Soundtrack". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  11. ^ a b "The Society of Composers & Lyricists". Ambassador Program. Archived from the original on February 12, 2019. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  12. ^ "Clients". February 11, 2011.
  13. ^ "Richard M. Sherman – Profile". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  14. ^ DeRiso, Nick (July 7, 2015). "Ringo Starr's 10 Most Historic Moments". Ultimate Classic Rock.
  15. ^ Freedland, Michael (March 6, 2012). "Robert Sherman obituary". The Guardian.
  16. ^ Leitch, Luke (May 17, 2005). "Chitty Chitty Bye Bye". The Standard.
  17. ^ "New Release: The Slipper and the Rose". February 9, 2009.
  18. ^ Billington, Michael (November 16, 2006). "Mary Poppins". The Guardian.
  19. ^ "Mary Poppins". November 16, 2006.
  20. ^ a b Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAY (April 5, 2016). "For new 'Jungle Book,' a classic tune got fresh lyrics". USA TODAY.
  21. ^ King, Susan (June 18, 2018). "Walt Disney's favorite composers, the Sherman brothers, get a star-filled film academy salute". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  22. ^ a b "Christopher Robin Press Kit" (PDF). Walt Disney Studios. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 22, 2019. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  23. ^ "Mary Poppins Returns – Press Kit" (PDF). Walt Disney Studios. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 4, 2019. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  24. ^ McPhee, Ryan (May 15, 2020). Disney Theatrical Productions Reveals Next Steps for Hercules and The Jungle Book Musicals, Aida Revival, More. Playbill.
  25. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (May 4, 2023). "Animated Musical Movie 'Inkas the Ramferinkas', From Songwriters of 'Mary Poppins' and 'It's a Small World', in the Works". Variety. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  26. ^ "Sherman Brothers Working on New Musical Merry-Go-Round". August 29, 2005. Archived from the original on February 9, 2009. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
  27. ^ a b "National Medal of Arts 2008". Retrieved December 1, 2008.
  28. ^ Admin (June 1, 2015). "Olivier Winners 2003".
  29. ^ Desk (January 2, 2004). "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang". Evening Standard.
  30. ^ Fox, Mark (January 1, 2016). "London Palladium History".
  31. ^ Songwriters Hall of Fame: Richard M. Sherman, Hall of Fame website.
  32. ^ Gans, Andrew (March 3, 2013). "Broadway's Mary Poppins Flies Out Of New Amsterdam Theatre March 3".
  33. ^ "A Chat with The Aristocats composer, Richard Sherman of the Sherman B…". July 7, 2012. Archived from the original on July 7, 2012.
  34. ^ Admin (April 27, 2015). "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 2005–2010 Tour Dates". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  35. ^ Smith, Alistair (October 12, 2007). "Mary Poppins to Launch Tour from Theatre Royal, Plymouth".
  36. ^ Admin (September 15, 2009). "The Sherman Brothers Songbook".
  37. ^ BWW News Desk (April 5, 2010). "The Theatre Museum Awards Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, Held 5/10". Archived from the original on September 6, 2008.
  38. ^ Sherman, "My Time (part 4)" in Moose: Chapters From My Life, p. 349
  39. ^ WEINERT-KENDT, ROB (June 20, 2013). "Cutting Through a Cultural Thicket 'The Jungle Book' Comes to the Stage". The New York Times. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
  40. ^ "A Spoonful of Sherman – Review 13/01/14". Stagey Secrets.
  41. ^ "Advisory Committee". The Walt Disney Family Museum. April 21, 2015. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  42. ^ Hanks-Farmer, Caroline (August 12, 2017). "A Spoonful of Sherman – Live at The Zedel until 20th August". Carns Theatre Passion. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  43. ^ "A Spoonful of Sherman". Live at Zedel (2017).
  44. ^ Hewis, Ben (June 13, 2017). "Casting announced for A Spoonful of Sherman at Live at Zedel". What's On Stage. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  45. ^ News Desk (June 14, 2017). "Cast Announced for a SPOONFUL OF SHERMAN Live at Zédel". West End Wilma. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  46. ^ BWW News Desk (December 20, 2017). "Sherman Brothers Musical to Tour UK". Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  47. ^ 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.
  48. ^ 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.
  49. ^ Shenton, Mark (March 4, 2014). "A Spoonful of Sherman, Celebration of Songs By Three Generations of Songwriters, to Be Reprised at London's St. James Theatre Studio". Playbill.
  50. ^ Garreau, Joel."Stan Lee, Olivia de Havilland Win Medal of Arts Honors",Washington Post, November 17, 2008