Screen and TV Album - April 1970 (typed by Carol R.)
His Life's an Open Book
Bobby Sherman's Delightful Life Story
Robert Sherman, Jr., was born July 22, 1943, in Santa Monica, California, but his entrance into the world was hardly as perfect as his life seems to be these days. "I almost lost him before he was born, and even afterwards, there was danger of our losing him," his mother, Juanita Sherman, recalls with a shudder. "They didn't even let me see him at first because they didn't know if he was going to live or not." Maybe a little of the determination that guides him today helped him to gain a stronghold on life back then, because Bobby pulled through and when he had to have an operation nine months later, he survived it with flying colors. "After the operation," he grew fat and healthy." Mrs. Sherman says "And he didn't even get any of the childhood diseases until he was much older." Unfortunately, though, Bobby soon gave his folks another reason for worry. When he was eleven months old, his big sister, Darlene, was pushing him in a stroller across a ramp and the little boy pulled himself up on the railing and fell to the cement below. He was rushed to the doctor's office, where an x-ray showed a broken collarbone. Even the cast failed to curb his spirit; however, five days later, little Bobby took his first steps.
In 1944, the Shermans spent several months in Mineral Wells, Texas, where Mr. Sherman was stationed while serving in the Army. Their living quarters in the service town were far from comfortable, but Mrs. Sherman refused to be separated from her husband. "It was rough," she says today. "But it was an experience." When Mr. Sherman finished his Army stint, the family returned to the West and moved into a spacious ranch-type home in Van Nuys. Mr. Sherman owned a dairy farm, so there was plenty of milk to keep Bobby and his sister healthy during the post-war years. And if there weren't many children around to play with at the time, Bobby didn't have a lonely childhood. He had an invisible friend called Frank who was with him all the time.
His imaginary world ended when his education began. Lively Bobby was extremely popular from kindergarten on, and while he was only an average student in classes like Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, he soon got a reputation for being a fine musician. His father taught him to play the trumpet when he was eight, and before long, he had taught himself to play the drums, French horn, trombone, bass guitar, guitar and harmonica. "I'm not much on piano, though," he says modestly. He also added singing to his accomplishments and took to entertaining his friends at class parties. But music was not the only thing at which he excelled. At Birmingham High School, he was named "Most Valuable Player" for his football prowess.
It was while attending night classes at Pierce Junior College in the San Fernando Valley and working on an assembly line during the day that Bobby finally decided what he wanted to do with his life. In the past, he had considered being a minister or an architect. But one day, he admitted the truth – he wanted to be an entertainer.
"My folks gave me a lot of encouragement," Bobby says today. Mr. Sherman helped him build a recording studio so he could practice and make his own sound tracks. Mrs. Sherman scouted around for some coaches and came up with the best, including the famous Stella Adler. Soon, Bobby's work had a professional polish, and when he was invited to attend a party at Sal Mineo's beach house, he decided to try it out on Sal and some of the other pros there. (Natalie Wood, Roddy McDowall and Jane Fonda, to name a few). As they say in show biz, he was a smash! Sal himself took the boy in hand and was instrumental in Bobby's becoming a Decca recording artist. After that, things began to happen fast. Bobby snagged the host-singer spot in ABC-TV's hit show, Shindig, and immediately became a teenage idol. "I don't let this 'instant success' stuff kid me, though," he declared with his usual level headedness. "It's no good unless it lasts longer than an instant."
For a while it looked as if those words might be prophetic. The Shindig job lasted for two years, and then the show was cancelled. Bobby's fan club continued, but his career seemed to fade into oblivion. Still, he refused to be discouraged. "I had the recording business and a lot of confidence left," he says happily. He spent his idle hours practicing and studying acting so he'd be prepared when the next chance came along. And when it came, he traveled all the way to New York to grab at it. "New York is where the auditions for the part of Jeremy in Here Come the Brides were held," he remembers. "I tried out against eight New York actors and they said they'd let me know. When my plane landed in L.A., my business partner met me and simply said, "Hi, Jeremy," It was as simple as that."
Now that Bobby's a hit on Brides, he isn't the least bit worried about his career doing another phase-out. But he's making use of his current success to insure his future just in case. When not busy at the studio, he crams in as many concert dates and recording sessions as possible. "You can't resist the money, and I know I'll never be as 'hot' as I am now," he explained. "I have a good business sense which I picked up from my dad." He is also trying to help other young singers break into the profession by cutting records for them in his studio at his own expense and then seeking deals for them at major record companies. "Music has always been my thing," he insists. "I get a tremendous kick out of my studio." He also hopes to try his hand at directing, but thinks he'd better hold off on that ambition for at least another year. "Somehow I don't think I'd feel comfortable directing our cast on Brides yet," he confesses.
In view of Bobby's busy work schedules and his professional aspirations, it almost seems as if his life is too full for anything as frivolous as romance. But both Bobby and his mom are quick to say it isn't so. Since kindergarten, Mrs. Sherman's little boy has had plenty of girls in his life. "I used to have mothers calling me to say would I please have him tell their little girls that he loved them," Mrs. Sherman says with a laugh. "He doesn't even know what love is!" I'd say. But they'd answer, "My little girl has such a crush on him, and she keeps asking him if he likes her, and he won't answer." When Bobby was 17, a certain girl tried to get him to do more than simply say he loved her. She went to Mrs. Sherman and said she wanted to marry her son. Bobby didn't go for the idea, but he was too polite to tell the girl, so his mom had to set her straight.
The first real love of Bobby's life was a divorcee five years his senior. They had a beautiful relationship and Bobby was crazy about the woman's two young children, but when it came to tying the knot, he got cold feet. "I felt that responsibility was more than I could take," he explains. "I guess I really was just too young psychologically to accept that kind of responsibility. If there had not been children involved, the picture might have changed.
Today, he is happily enamored of a teenaged beauty named Patti Carnel, but whether the romance will lead to marriage is anybody's guess. "I love her," Bobby admits. "But we're not rushing anything." If Patti does turn out to be the girl Bobby wants to make his wife, you can bet that he'll work just as hard to make his marriage last as he has worked to keep his career going. "Marriage is an institution that I respect," he says with all seriousness. But it's a twenty-four-hour-a-day job." Luckily, the guy is used to working hard.