The Sherman Brothers’ career as leading composer/lyricists in family entertainment spans almost 50 years and includes two Academy Awards for Mary Poppins, Best Score and Best Song for ‘Chim Chim Cher-ee’. Already famous throughout the world for their songs and films, the work of the brothers Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman is currently enjoying a fresh chapter of success in musical theatre. The brothers composed several brand new songs for the stage version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which opened in the West End in 2002, going on to become the longest-running musical ever to play the London Palladium. Following its acclaimed Broadway run, it enjoyed a long and successful UK tour, a nationwide tour of the United States, and a tour of Australia. The stage production of Mary Poppins, co-produced by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh, opened to huge critical acclaim in London at the end of 2004, immediately winning two coveted Olivier Awards and playing to packed houses while the Broadway production enjoyed a six-year run and further tours and other productions are planned throughout the world. In summer 2013, The Jungle Book, another huge Shermans/Disney favourite was brought to life on stage at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.
The Sherman Brothers gained recognition in popular music with several top-ten hits – among them ‘You’re Sixteen’, ‘Let’s Get Together’ and ‘Tall Paul’. 1960 marked the start of a phenomenal 10 year association with Walt Disney, during which time they composed over 150 songs for his films, TV shows, Disneyland and other theme parks. Their Disney credits include the films The Jungle Book, The Parent Trap, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Sword in the Stone, The Aristocats, The Happiest Millionaire, the Winnie the Pooh series, and of course Mary Poppins. They also wrote the most translated and performed song on earth, ‘It’s a Small World (After All)’.
They went on to compose song scores for Snoopy Come Home, Charlotte’s Web, the Broadway hit musical Over Here! and the ‘fantasmagorical’ Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – with its Oscar nominated title song.
The Sherman Brothers created screenplays and song scores for Tom Sawyer (their music won First Prize at the Moscow Film Festival), Huckleberry Finn, the 1976 Royal Film Performance The Slipper and the Rose (with co-author Bryan Forbes), and The Magic of Lassie which also earned them their ninth Academy Award nomination for Best Song. More recent credits include the book Walt’s Time – a wonderful autobiographical and pictorial journey through their song-writing years; the Disney hit animated feature The Tigger Movie, the stage musical Busker Alley starring Tommy Tune in the United States and Beverly Hills Cop 3.
In addition to their Oscars, other honours awarded to the Sherman Brothers include three Grammys, 24 Gold and Platinum Albums, as well as a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Robert Sherman died peacefully in London in March 2012.