Robert Bernard Sherman was an American songwriter who specialized in musical films with his brother Richard Morton Sherman. Some of the Sherman Brothers' best known writing includes the songs from Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Slipper and the Rose and the theme park song, "It's a Small World".
Robert Bernard Sherman was born on December 19, 1925 in New York City. His parents, Russian-Jewish immigrants, Rosa & Al Sherman paid Robert's hospital delivery costs with a royalty check which had arrived that day. The title of the song which covered the hospital bill was "Save Your Sorrow". Al Sherman was to become a well known Tin Pan Alley songwriter.
As a young boy, Robert Sherman excelled in intellectual pursuits, taking up the violin and piano, painting and writing poetry. Following seven years of frequent cross-country moves, the Shermans finally settled down in Beverly Hills, California. Some of the primary schools Robert attended in Manhattan included PS 241 and the Ethical Culture Fieldston School; in California, the El Rodeo School. Throughout his years at Beverly Hills High School, he wrote and produced radio and stage programs for which he won much acclaim. At the age of 16, he wrote Armistice and Dedication Day, a stage play centered around contemporary 1940s Americans that showed how their lives were inextricably 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 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. 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), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977), and Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971).
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.
In 2002, Sherman moved from Beverly Hills to London, England where he continues 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) 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.
A new Disney and Cameron Mackintosh production of Mary Poppins: The Stage Musical made its world premier at the Prince Edward Theatre in December 2004 and features the Sherman Brothers classic songs.