Robert B. Sherman


Composer, Lyricist

About

Also Known As
Robert Sherman, Robert Bernard Sherman
Birth Place
New York City, New York, USA
Born
December 19, 1925

Biography

Together with his younger brother, Richard, songwriter Robert B. Sherman was credited with penning some of the most beloved family-friendly tunes of all time, including the most played song ever, "It’s a Small World (After All)." Born Robert Bernard Sherman on Dec. 19, 1925 in New York City, he was the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants Rosa and Al Sherman, a successful Tin Pan Alley songw...

Family & Companions

Joyce Ruth Sasner
Wife
Married on September 27, 1953.

Notes

Sherman and his brother wrote "It's a Small World", the theme song of Disneyland and Disney World.

Biography

Together with his younger brother, Richard, songwriter Robert B. Sherman was credited with penning some of the most beloved family-friendly tunes of all time, including the most played song ever, "It’s a Small World (After All)." Born Robert Bernard Sherman on Dec. 19, 1925 in New York City, he was the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants Rosa and Al Sherman, a successful Tin Pan Alley songwriter. The family eventually relocated to Los Angeles, where Robert pursued his interests in theater and music while attending school. After completing service in the US Army during WWII (during which he was one of the first American soldiers to enter the Dachau concentration camp and later earned a Purple Heart), Sherman began working as a freelance songwriter in tandem with his younger brother Richard. Together the Sherman brothers crafted popular hits like "Things I Might Have Been" and "Tall Paul" (1958), recorded by Annette Funicello. By 1960, the brothers had become associated with Walt Disney and his burgeoning empire. For just over a decade, they provided songs for a number of classic live-action and animated films, beginning with "The Absent-Minded Professor" and "The Parent Trap" (both 1961). After writing songs for the charming Arthurian cartoon "The Sword in the Stone" (1963), the Sherman brothers had their biggest success writing the melodic and infectious score for "Mary Poppins" (1964). A then-groundbreaking blend of live-action and animation, "Mary Poppins" contained several wonderful musical songs, including "A Spoonful of Sugar," the lively "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," the haunting "Feed the Birds" and the Oscar-winning "Chim Chim Cheree." Much of the score was a pastiche of English musical hall numbers and was skillfully delivered by Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.

Following this achievement, the Shermans remained at Disney for the remainder of the decade, contributing efforts to "That Darn Cat!" (1965), "The Jungle Book" (1967) and "The Aristocats" (1970). A rare non-Disney song, the title tune for United Artists' "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (1968), earned them an Academy Award nomination. By the time, "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" (1971) was released, the siblings had severed their ties to Disney, though the film did earn them Oscar nominations for Best Song Score and Best Song ("The Age of Not Believing"). They renewed their affiliation with United Artists, scripting and scoring adaptations of "Tom Sawyer" (1973) and "Huckleberry Finn" (1974). Also in 1974, the Sherman brothers debuted as Broadway composers with an Andrews Sisters musical called "Over Here!" They were again nominated for Academy Awards for the lilting score and the title song from "The Slipper and the Rose" (1976). Two years later, Sherman and his brother were again among the nominees for "When You're Loved" from "The Magic of Lassie." In the years that followed, Sherman and his sibling also collaborated on the songs for such animated projects as "Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland" (1990) and "The Mighty Kong" (1998). Sherman moved to the U.K. in 2002, shortly after the passing of his wife, Joyce. Three years later, when "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" became a musical on Broadway, Robert and Richard contributed a handful of new songs. In 2008, the brothers were awarded the National Medal of Arts by President George W. Bush. The following year, they were the subject of the documentary "The Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story" (2009), a fond remembrance of their remarkable careers. Robert Sherman passed away at the age of 86 from natural causes at his home in England on March 5, 2012. He was survived by his brother, Richard.

By Bryce Coleman

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story (2009)
Himself

Writer (Feature Film)

The Magic Of Lassie (1978)
From Story
The Magic Of Lassie (1978)
Screenwriter
The Slipper and the Rose (1976)
Screenwriter
Huckleberry Finn (1974)
Screenplay
Tom Sawyer (1973)
Screenplay

Music (Feature Film)

Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
Song
Christine (2016)
Song Performer
The Jungle Book (2016)
Song
Tomorrowland (2015)
Song
Ant-Man (2015)
Song
Aloha (2015)
Song
Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
Song
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)
Song
Gnomeo & Juliet (2011)
Song
Winnie the Pooh (2011)
Song
The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story (2009)
Music
Bewitched (2005)
Song
Pooh's Heffalump Movie (2005)
Song
War of the Worlds (2005)
Song
Around the World in 80 Days (2004)
Song
The Jungle Book 2 (2003)
Song
Piglet's Big Movie (2003)
Song
The Tigger Movie (2000)
Song
The Mighty Kong (1998)
Song
PARENT TRAP, THE (1998)
Song
Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist (1997)
Song
Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)
Song
The Lion King (1994)
Song
Life with Mikey (1993)
Song
Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1992)
Songs
Radio Flyer (1992)
Song
The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)
Song
Troop Beverly Hills (1989)
Song
Gung Ho (1986)
Song
Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985)
Song
The Magic Of Lassie (1978)
Music
The Magic Of Lassie (1978)
Songs ("A Rose Is Not A Rose" "That Hometown Feeling" "Thanksgiving Prayer" "When You'Re Loved" "There'Ll Be Other Friday Nights" "Brass Rings And Daydreams" "Travellin' Music" "Nobody'S Property" "I Can'T Say Goodbye" "Banjo Song")
The Slipper and the Rose (1976)
Songs ("Why Can'T I Be Two People?" "What Has Love Got To Do With Getting Married?" "Once I Was Loved" "What A Comforting Thing To Know" "Protocoligorically Correct" "A Bride Finding Ball" "Suddenly It Happens" "Secret Kingdom" "He Danced With Me" "She Danced With Me" "Position And Positioning" "Tell Him Anything (But Not That I Love Him)" "I Can'T Forget The Melody")
The Slipper and the Rose (1976)
Music
Huckleberry Finn (1974)
Music
Huckleberry Finn (1974)
Theme Lyrics
Tom Sawyer (1973)
Theme Lyrics
Tom Sawyer (1973)
Music
Charlotte's Web (1973)
Song
Snoopy, Come Home (1972)
Lyrics
Snoopy, Come Home (1972)
Music
Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)
Composer
The Aristocats (1970)
Composer
Venus in Furs (1969)
Composer
The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968)
Composer
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
Composer
The Happiest Millionaire (1967)
Composer
The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin (1967)
Composer
The Jungle Book (1967)
Composer
Monkeys, Go Home! (1967)
Composer
The Gnome-Mobile (1967)
Composer
Follow Me, Boys! (1966)
Title song
Those Calloways (1965)
Composer
That Darn Cat (1965)
Composer
The Monkey's Uncle (1965)
Composer
The Misadventures of Merlin Jones (1964)
Composer
Mary Poppins (1964)
Composer
The Sword in the Stone (1963)
Composer
Miracle of the White Stallions (1963)
Composer
Summer Magic (1963)
Composer
Big Red (1962)
Composer
Bon Voyage! (1962)
Composer
In Search of the Castaways (1962)
Composer
The Legend of Lobo (1962)
Composer
Moon Pilot (1962)
Composer
The Parent Trap (1961)
Composer
The Absent-Minded Professor (1961)
Composer

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story (2009)
Other

Cast (Special)

Dick Van Dyke: Put on a Happy Face (2000)

Music (Special)

The Sound of Julie Andrews (1995)
Song

Music (TV Mini-Series)

Snoopy Come Home (1972)
Composer

Life Events

1943

Served in the U.S. Army; awarded the Purple Heart

1953

Worked as freelance songwriter with his brother Richard Sherman; co-wrote "Things I Might Have Been," recorded by Kitty Wells

1958

Wrote "Tall Paul," recorded by Annette Funicello

1964

With Richard, co-wrote "it's a small world (after all)" for the 1964 New York World's Fair

1964

Had biggest success with the songs for "Mary Poppins"; won Oscars for Best Song and Best Song Score

1968

Wrote songs for rare non-Disney film "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"; garnered Academy Award nomination for Best Song

1971

Last screen collaboration with Disney, "Bedknobs and Broomsticks"; nominated for music Academy Awards

1973

Screenwriting debut (co-written with brother), "Tom Sawyer"; also wrote songs

1974

Broadway debut as songwriter, "Over Here!"; musical starred Patty and Maxine Andrews

1976

Co-scripted and scored "The Slipper and the Rose," adapted from the Cinderella story; earned Best Song Oscar nomination

1978

Nominated for Best Song Academy Award for "When You're Loved" from "The Magic of Lassie"; also co-scripted

1990

Wrote songs for the animated "Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland"

1994

Made rare acting appearance, playing a bar patron in "Beverly Hills Cop III"

1998

Wrote song score for the animated film "The Mighty Kong"

2000

With brother, penned the songs for the animated "The Tigger Movie"

2002

"Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" adapted into a London West End musical; featured many new songs and a reworked score

2005

Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (June 9) alongside his brother Richard

2009

Featured along with brother in the documentary "The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story," co-directed by son Jeff Sherman and nephew (Richard's son) Gregory

Videos

Movie Clip

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) - Baron Bomburst, Title Song Inventor dad Potts (Dick Van Dyke) with sweetheart Truly (Scrumptious! Sally Ann Potts) on a beach picnic has just confabulated the evil Baron Bomburst (Gert Fröbe, a.k.a. Goldfinger) for the kids (Heather Ripley, Adrian Hill), cueing another Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman original and one of the first big tech sequences, in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 1968, from James Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) - Toot Sweets Joining nutty inventor Potts (Dick Van Dyke) making a pitch to candy kingpin Lord Scrumptious (James Robertson Justice), cajoled by daughter Truly (Sally Ann Howes) and his own kids (Heather Ripley, Adrian Hill), the first big production number, and another Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman original, in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 1968.
Legend Of Lobo, The (1962) - The Wolf Known As Lobo Opening with elaborate appreciation of the landscape around Sedona, ensuing narration by Arizona’s own Rex Allen, and loosely based on “Lobo the King of Currumpaw,” the factual short-story by Ernest Thompson Seton, from Walt Disney’s widely-seen The Legend Of Lobo, 1962.
One And Only Original Genuine Family Band, The (1968) - Happiest Girl Alive Lesley-Ann Warren as Disney ingenue, eldest daughter Alice of the Bower clan of Ohio, song by the brothers Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman, singing of her beau (John Davidson, also her love interest in Disney’s The Happiest Millionaire, 1967), in The One And Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, 1968.
One And Only Original Genuine Family Band, The (1968) - Let's Put It Over With Grover The big number composed by Grandpa (Walter Brennan) for the 1888 re-nomination of President Grover Cleveland, performed by Buddy Ebsen, Janet Blair, Lesley-Ann Warren, Kurt Russell et al, composed by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman, in Disney’s The One And Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, 1968.
Slipper And The Rose, The (1976) - Secret Kingdom The prince (Richard Chamberlain) and Cinderella (Gemma Craven) have just met at the ball, thus their first song, from screenwriters and composers Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman, Bryan Forbes directing, in The Slipper And The Rose, 1976.
Slipper And The Rose, The (1976) - Why Can't I Be Two People? From Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman of Mary Poppins fame, the first song in their 1976 original version of Cinderella, Richard Chamberlain as the prince attended by friend Christopher Gable and Kenneth More as the Lord High Chamberlain, in The Slipper And The Rose, 1976.
Tom Sawyer (1973) - Gratifaction The tune is called "Gratifaction" and the scene is Mark Twain's recollection of Missouri, the bit about white-washing a fence, Johnny Whitaker as the title character in the Sherman Brothers' musical production of Tom Sawyer 1973.
Tom Sawyer (1973) - Rebecca Thatcher Young Johnny Whitaker (title character) can be forgiven for being charmed by Miss Rebecca Thatcher (Jodie Foster), making her first appearance in the Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman musical version of Tom Sawyer, 1973.
Venus in Furs (1970) - Rio, Rita Jimmy (James Darren) narrates his way to Rio where we meet Rita (Barbara McNair) singing "Let's Get Together" by Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman from an unlikely position in Jess Franco's Venus in Furs, 1970.

Trailer

Family

Al Sherman
Father
Songwriter.
Rosa Sherman
Mother
Richard M Sherman
Brother
Songwriter. Younger; born on June 12, 1928.
Laurie Shane Sherman
Daughter
Jeffrey Craig Sherman
Son
Andrea Tracy Sherman
Daughter
Robert Jason Sherman
Son

Companions

Joyce Ruth Sasner
Wife
Married on September 27, 1953.

Bibliography

Notes

Sherman and his brother wrote "It's a Small World", the theme song of Disneyland and Disney World.