Richard M. Sherman and his brother Robert not only wrote the Academy Award-winning music and lyrics for “Mary Poppins,” but also lent their singing voices to two members of the animated Pearly Band, the jeweled quartet that performs and makes a brief appearance at the end from “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. Richard also joined “Mary Poppins” actor David Tomlinson, Oscar-winning special effects artist Peter Ellenshaw and legendary voice actors Daws Butler, Dallas McKennon and J. Pat O’Malley to voice the Penguin Waiters , who join Mary and Bert in “Happy Holidays.”
“Mary Poppins” was one of the highlights of the Sherman Brothers’ career, which included nine other Oscar nominations, two Grammy Awards and more than 20 gold and platinum albums. Their collaborations have included songs for The Jungle Book, The Aristocats, Charlotte’s Web, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which, like Mary Poppins, became a hugely successful stage musical. The pair also wrote enduring songs like “It’s A Small World (After All)” and “You’re Sixteen,” which twice made the Billboard singles chart through versions by Johnny Burnette and Ringo Starr.
Following Robert’s death in 2012, Richard – who turned 93 in 2021 – has remained active as a songwriter, writing new material for the 2016 version of The Jungle Book and Christopher Robin, while also serving as music consultant for Mary Poppins Her notable careers have been celebrated with the National Medal of Arts, the stage musical A Spoonful of Sherman, and the 2009 documentary The Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story. Richard was portrayed by Jason Schwartzman in the 2013 biopic Saving Mr. Banks” in which BJ Novak played his brother Robert.