The Osmond Family, often referred to simply as The Osmonds, are an American family entertainment group that consists of parents George Virl Osmond Sr. and Olive May Davis Osmond and their nine children - Virl, Tom, Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, Donny, Marie, and Jimmy. They are all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Patriarch George Virl Osmond, Sr. set his family on a course for musical stardom when he taught his children to sing barbershop harmony. Their natural talent was noticeable and they began singing at church functions and civic events in their native Ogden, Utah. At an appearance at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, Walt Disney took interest in them. They appeared on a televised Disney special, where they were noticed by the father of singer Andy Williams. The first group, The Osmond Brothers, consisting of Alan, Wayne, Merrill, and Jay, became regulars on The Andy Williams Show from 1962 to 1969. In 1963, Donny became part of The Osmond Brothers. Later both Marie and Jimmy were introduced on the show. They became regulars on the Jerry Lewis Show in 1969. Meanwhile, they began touring Europe with Andy Williams.
Older Brothers Virl and Tom
Older brothers Virl and Tom have been known as the nonperforming Osmonds due to their hearing impairment. In fact, in their made-for-TV movie Inside the Osmonds, the Osmonds explain that they originally performed to earn money to support Virl and Tom in buying hearing aids as well as building a fund for all the children to serve missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
From Barbershop and Variety Shows to Rock and Roll
The Osmond Brothers wanted to set aside their barber shop/variety show singing style and perform rock and roll. The transition was hard for their father, but the brothers became The Osmonds, landed a record contract with MGM, and hit the #1 spot with the single, "One Bad Apple," written by George Jackson. At first, Merrill was the lead singer but Donny eventually became a co-lead singer for the group and they continued to record and perform hits such as "Go Away Little Girl," "Puppy Love," "Yo-Yo," and "Sweet and Innocent." They also began writing their own songs and playing their own instruments. As their popularity waned, and the older brothers wanted to tour less, they eventually disbanded in 1980.
Separate Music Careers
Donny became a solo artist. Sister Marie and younger brother Jimmy also had solo careers. Jimmy earned six gold records. Together, Donny and Marie had a #4 hit song, "I’m Leaving It Up to You," that eventually led to The Donny & Marie Show, which aired on ABC from 1976 to 1979. Donny and Marie have appeared in Broadway musicals separately. Each appeared on television’s Dancing with the Stars.
Alan, Wayne, Merrill, and Jay formed a country group and returned to using the name "The Osmond Brothers" and performed primarily in Branson, Missouri. Merrill, Jay, and Jimmy predominantly perform together; Alan performs less due to multiple sclerosis and Wayne had a brain tumor in 1997 and announced his retirement from performing.
The family continues to perform periodically together in reunion or anniversary shows, most notably during 2007–2008 when they toured Europe to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of their career in show business. Their performance in Las Vegas was aired on PBS on 10 March 2008. Virl and Tom joined the family for the performance by signing two songs. Andy Williams made a surprise appearance on the show. They also appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in a celebration of the anniversary. The tour culminated in a performance with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on 26 July and 27 July 2008. They released an album, I Can’t Get There Without You, in September 2012 that includes the seven performing siblings and a tribute to Virl and Tom.
The Osmond Family still holds the record for achieving 11 gold and platinum awards in one year. The family has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2003). The Osmond Foundation, which eventually became the Children’s Miracle Network, raises funds to serve children’s hospital needs worldwide.
The Osmonds Second Generation and Life Beyond
Alan Osmond’s eight sons - Michael, Nathan, Douglas, David, Scott, Jon, Alex, and Tyler - continued the Osmond Family tradition for a time by performing as The Osmonds—Second Generation. The group has since disbanded, and the only ones still performing professionally are Nathan and David. Tyler is also part of a band called Desert Noises.
Donny and Marie have also had a long, successful run at Flamingo Las Vegas. The brother and sister duo originally signed a six-week contract in September 2008. Now, almost nine years later the show continues on as they have extended their stay at the Donny & Marie Showroom through the end of 2017. The actual end date for the shows is 25 November 2017 when Donny and Marie hit the road for the holidays. While performing the shows, Marie has taken up residence in Green Valley and Donny moved into a home in Summerlin. According to a press release, Donny and Marie have performed nearly 1,200 shows, and have been alternating dates with fellow superstar Olivia Newton-John since April 2014.
In addition to performing in the shows, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Donny also appears at Town Square as the host of the annual Danny Gans Memorial Champions Run for Life. "The 5K run/walk is to benefit the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation, a project of Gans, the late star impressionist on the Strip who died in May 2009. Osmond and Gans were close friends and since Gans’ death, Osmond has fulfilled the promise every year to host the NCCF event."
Olive Osmond passed away on 9 May 2004, and George Osmond passed away on 6 November 2007.