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Donald Clark Osmond (Donny) is an entertainer, recording star, actor, host, author, and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was born on 9 December 1957, in Ogden, Utah. He is the seventh child of the late Olive May Davis Osmond and the late George Virl Osmond, Sr. He has eight siblings - Virl, Tom, Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, Marie, and Jimmy. Virl and Tom are both hearing-impaired. The other siblings are also entertainers. Under the direction of their father, the original Osmond singing group, called "The Osmonds" or "The Osmond Brothers," consisted of Alan, Wayne, Merrill, and Jay. The Osmond Brothers auditioned for the Andy Williams Show after performing at Disneyland. They became regulars on the show and quickly gained popularity. Donny debuted on the show with the group at age 6, on 10 December 1963 and sang "You Are My Sunshine with Andy Williams. Jimmy and Marie later performed on the show.
In addition to performing with other members of his family, Donny became a soloist and teen heartthrob in the early 70's. He rose to fame with hits like “Puppy Love,” “Go Away Little Girl,” and “Too Young.” At the age of 14, he released his debut singles as a solo artist and started performing around the world. His popularity and hit singles vaulted him to international fame. In the mid-70's he co-hosted The Donny and Marie Show with Marie. They recorded several albums together before and during their television variety series. The series aired from 1976 to 1979.
Donny Osmond's career was rocky from 1980 to 1990 with a failed Broadway debut in Little Johnny Jones, and a couple of hit singles a little less boyish than his original hit songs. Donny commented, "Throughout my twenties and into my thirties I would apologize for my career, for all of the cheesy music I was a part of. But it wasn't until my late thirties or early forties that I realized I didn't have to apologize. I thought to myself, You know what? That music was great for what it was, people loved it, it was incredibly successful—why should I feel bad?"
At a charity function in 1988, Donny met an unlikely ally - Peter Gabriel. The mercurial musician and fan, as it were, took Donny under his wing and gave him and his producing team carte blanche to record at his studio in Bath, England. The result was "Soldier of Love," regarded by the recording industry as the comeback of the 80s, and Donny's first smash hit in more than a decade. Donny further commented, "I could never repay Peter for his help and belief. For a guy of his caliber to give me the ‘thumbs up’ -- it meant everything." Still, for all of his struggles, Donny says he wouldn‘t change a thing. "All things for a reason, as the saying goes. I think the best thing to ever happen to me was losing my career the way I did. My fame, my money -- all gone. I could have crawled into a cave, or maybe I could have gone to some Holiday Inn lounge and sung 'Puppy Love' for the next 20 years. But the fact is, I had to come to terms with myself. I had to say, 'Hey, I’m a singer. It’s what I do. It’s what I love. And then I had to get on with the process of reinventing myself."
His career turned around in the '90's with a long, critically acclaimed run as the star of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat—over 2,000 performances. Donny achieved this success in spite of challenges caused by a social phobia, which caused him to suffer from dizziness and nervousness.
Donny Osmond Returns to Television and Broadway
In 1998, for two seasons, Donny and Marie Osmond co-hosted a talk show. Donny went on to host a syndicated television game show called Pyramid which ran for two seasons in the United States from 2002 to 2004, and then a British version of Pyramid in 2007. He went on to release a Christmas album, an album of his favorite Broadway songs, and a compilation of popular love songs. His voice can also be heard in the Disney animated film Mulan, in which he sings "I'll Make A Man Out Of You". He has done voice-overs for the animated television series Johnny Bravo and has also been a guest star on numerous other television shows. He returned to Broadway in 2006, as Gaston in Disney's Beauty And The Beast. Popular demand kept him in the show longer than the planned 9 weeks. Osmond played Gaston again for the final performance. He was also the co-host of The Insider, and in 2008 performed with his entire family in a sold-out Las Vegas show celebrating the Osmond Family's fifty years in show business.
Donny and Marie Osmond signed a contract to create a variety show to be performed at Las Vegas' Flamingo Hotel for a 26-week run. The six-month run was extended, because of the success of the show. By spring of 2010, the show had been drawing crowds for 18 months. Managers were looking to extend the run into fall of 2012. The show ran for a full 2 1/2 years, and then Boyz to Men was slated to replace Donny and Marie. Donny and Marie then mounted a Christmas show for Broadway.
In November 2009, in spite of being the subject of jokes regarding his advanced age to be competing in a dance contest, Donny won the Dancing With the Stars competition. Helping push Osmond over the top was his performance on the final day: an Argentine tango, performed with his professional dancing partner, Kym Johnson. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba hailed it as "artistry in motion."
Donny Osmond's Personal Life
Donny Osmond married Debra Glenn on 8 May 1978, in the Salt Lake Temple. Together they have five sons. Their first grandchild was born in 2005. Osmond did not serve a mission for the Church when he attained missionary age. He comments, "It would have been nice to have had the opportunity to serve a full-time mission. When I was a young teenager, church leaders suggested that I forgo a mission and indicated to me that I may be able to do more good as a performer than as a proselyting missionary, so I have tried as best as I could to make that happen, to share the gospel as best as I can without being over zealous, which to me is a huge turn off."
The Osmonds have freely shared their Mormon beliefs with the public throughout their fifty plus years in show business, and thousands attribute their interest in the Church to the Osmond family. To read more about what Donny Osmond believes, click here. Read more about Donny Osmond at MormonMusic.org.