Robert B. Sherman
Robert Bernard Sherman
December 19, 1925
New York City, U.S.
|Died||March 6, 2012 (aged 86)|
|Resting place||Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery, Culver City, California|
|Other names||Bob Sherman|
Joyce Ruth Sasner
(m. 1953; died 2001)
|Children||4, including Robert|
|Relatives||Richard M. Sherman (brother)|
Al Sherman (father)
Robert Bernard Sherman (December 19, 1925 – March 6, 2012) was an American songwriter, best known for his work in musical films with his brother, Richard M. Sherman. The Sherman brothers produced more motion picture song scores than any other songwriting team in film history. Some of their 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)" possibly the most-performed song (in public) in history.
Robert Bernard Sherman was born on December 19, 1925, in New York City to Russian Jewish immigrants Rosa (Dancis) and Al Sherman. 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.
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. 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.
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. on April 29, 1945, Sherman was among the first soldiers who entered the Dachau concentration camp. 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.
While recuperating from his knee injury in Taunton and Bournemouth in England, Sherman became familiar with the United Kingdom and its culture.
During World War II Robert B. Sherman received these awards:
|Combat Infantry Badge|
|Purple Heart||Good Conduct Medal|
|American Campaign Medal||European-African-Middle Eastern
with two stars
|World War II Victory Medal|
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.
On May 12, 1990, Sherman received an honorary doctorate from Lincoln College.
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").
In 1958, Sherman founded the music publishing company, Music World Corporation, which later worked with Disney's BMI publishing arm, Wonderland Music Company. 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. 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". Since Mary Poppins' premiere, Sherman earned nine Academy Award nominations, two Grammy Awards, four Grammy Award nominations and 23 gold and platinum albums.
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.
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.
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) 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, "Pineapple Princess" and "Let's Get Together".
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, it premiered on Broadway at the Foxwoods Theatre (then the Hilton Theatre). The Sherman brothers wrote an additional six songs for the new stage productions.
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.
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.
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.
In 2006, Mary Poppins opened on Broadway 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.
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). with five grandchildren: Joshua Kirshbaum (1990), Alex Sherman (1991), Amelia and Sarah Kirshbaum (1993) and Ryan Sherman (1995).
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.
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, 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). On March 4, 2007, Sherman and his son, Robbie, donated limited edition prints of "Moses" and "Sacrifice" to the Giffnock Synagogue in Glasgow, Scotland. Sherman worked in metal sculpture, wrote poetry and short stories from an early age.
In 2005, Robert Sherman established an annual scholarship award in his name through the BMI Foundation. 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. Following is a list of the annual winners since the award's inception:
The very first American soldier at the liberation of Dachau...was Robert B. Sherman.
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.
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.