Robert B Sherman
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.