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Birth name: Donald Clark Osmond
Born: December 9, 1957 in Ogden, Utah, United States
Genres: Vocal pop rock, R&B, bubblegum pop, blue eyed soul, comedy, musical theatre
Occupation(s): Singer, song writer, musician, actor, television host, dancer, author
Instruments: Vocals, piano
Years active: 1963 - present
Labels: Universal, Decca
Associated acts: Marie Osmond, The Osmonds
Donald Clark Osmond (born December 9, 1957) is an American singer, dancer, actor, and former teen idol. Osmond has also been a talk and game show host, record producer, and author. In the mid 1960s, he and four of his elder brothers gained fame as the Osmonds. Donny Osmond went solo in the early 1970s, earning several top ten hits including, “Go Away Little Girl”, “Puppy Love”, and later, “Soldier of Love”.
For more than 40 years, he and younger sister Marie have also gained fame as Donny & Marie, partly due to the success of their 1976 - 1979 self titled variety series, which aired on ABC and a string of gold records. The duo also did a 1998 - 2000 talk show and have been headlining in Las Vegas since 2008.
Osmond was born on December 9, 1957, in Ogden, Utah, the seventh son of Olive May (née Davis; 1925 - 2004) and George Virl Osmond (1917 - 2007). He is the brother of Alan, Jay, Jimmy, Merrill, Wayne, Marie, Tom, and Virl Osmond. Alan, Jay, Merrill, Wayne, and Donny were members of the popular singing group The Osmonds (also known as The Osmond Brothers). Osmond was raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in Utah along with his siblings. Osmond has traced some of his family ancestry back to Merthyr Tydfil in Wales; his journey was documented in a BBC Wales program, Donny Osmond Coming Home. On the BBC's The One Show, a plaque was unveiled in the town to commemorate 'the ancestors of Donny Osmond.' In his youth, Osmond held a ham radio license, KA7EVD.
Teen idol: 1971 - 1978
Andy Williams' father, Jay Emerson Williams, saw the Osmond Brothers (Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay) perform on a Disneyland televised special as a barbershop quartet. In short order, the group was invited to audition for The Andy Williams Show. Williams initially had reservations about featuring children on the program, however, encouraged by his father to try them out, they proved in a short period of time to become an asset to the program, and soon became regulars on the show and gained popularity quickly. In 1963, Donny Osmond made his debut on the show at the age of five singing “You Are My Sunshine”. The brothers continued to perform on the show throughout the 1960s along with a visit from their sister Marie. In the early 1970s, the Osmonds, via recording and virtually constant touring, sold over 80 million records in a single 12 month period, making them the most successful, and fatigued, of the early Seventies touring groups.
Osmond became a teen idol in the early 1970s as a solo singer, while continuing to sing with his older brothers. Osmond, Bobby Sherman, and David Cassidy were the biggest “Cover Boy” pop stars for Tiger Beat magazine in the early 1970s. His first solo hit was a cover of Roy Orbison's 1958 recording of “Sweet and Innocent”, which peaked at No. 7 in the U.S. in 1971. Osmond's follow ups “Go Away Little Girl” (1971) (U.S. #1), “Puppy Love” (U.S. #3), and “Hey Girl / I Knew You When” (U.S. #9) (1972) vaulted him into international fame, further advanced by his 20 November 1972 appearance on the Here's Lucy show, where he sang “Too Young” to Lucille Ball's niece, played by Eve Plumb, and sang with Lucie Arnaz “I'll Never Fall in Love Again”.
Comeback: 1989 - 1990
In the 1980s, Donny Osmond re-invented himself and abandoned the earlier television show image crafted to appeal to young viewers. He made an unlikely appearance as one of several celebrities and unknowns auditioning to sing for guitarist Jeff Beck in the video for Beck's 1985 single “Ambitious” which was produced by Paul Flattery and directed by Jim Yukich followed in 1986 by an equally unlikely cameo in the animated Luis Cardenas music video “Runaway”. He spent several years as a performer, before hiring the services of music and entertainment guru Steven Machat, who got Osmond together with English singer songwriter Peter Gabriel to see whether Machat and Gabriel could turn the TV Osmond's image into a contemporary young pop act. They succeeded, returning Osmond to the U.S. charts in 1989 with the Billboard Hot 100 No. 2 song “Soldier of Love” and its top twenty follow up “Sacred Emotion”. The campaign to market “Soldier Of Love” received considerable airplay with the singer being presented as a “mystery artist” before his identity was later revealed. Launching an extensive tour in support of the “Eyes Don't Lie” record, he enlisted Earth Wind & Fire, and Kenny Loggins guitarist Dick Smith, along with keyboardist Marc Jackson.
Osmond was often reluctant to perform his earliest songs, in particular “Go Away Little Girl”, but was convinced to sing the song live for KLOS-FM's Mark & Brian Christmas Show on December 21, 1990. Now he embraces his initial recording period with fondness, and recognizes that his many fans around the world are always excited and appreciative to hear his earliest chart successes.
Current music career: 1991 - present
Osmond was the guest vocalist on Dweezil Zappa's star studded version of the Bee Gees' “Stayin' Alive” which appeared on Zappa's 1991 album Confessions. The song also included guitar solos from Zakk Wylde, Steve Lukather, Warren DeMartini, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tim Pierce. Osmond sang “No One Has To Be Alone”, but the song was heard at the end of the film The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water. He also sang “I'll Make a Man Out of You” for Disney's Mulan. In the 2000s, he released a Christmas album, an album of his favorite Broadway songs, and a compilation of popular love songs. In 2004, he returned to the UK Top 10 for the first time as a solo artist since 1973, with the George Benson sampling “Breeze On By”, co-written with former teen idol Gary Barlow, from the 1990s UK boy band Take That, reaching number 8. Forthcoming 60th album The Soundtrack of My Life features a collection of cover songs with personal meaning to Osmond. He enlisted Stevie Wonder to play harmonica on track “My Cherie Amour”.
Donny & Marie in Las Vegas
Following Marie's stint on Dancing with the Stars in 2007, the pair teamed up for a limited engagement in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. Beginning September 2008, Donny and Marie began playing the 750 seat showroom at the Flamingo Hotel. “Donny & Marie” is a 90 minute show. The singing siblings are backed by eight dancers and a nine piece band. Donny and Marie sing together at the beginning and end of the show, and have solo segments in between. The old style showroom was updated in 2014 and renamed the Donny and Marie Theater. Osmond and the show earned three of the Las Vegas Review Journal's Best of Las Vegas Awards in 2012 including “Best Show”, “Best All Around Performer” (Donny & Marie), and “Best Singer”. Osmond earned “Best Singer” for a second time in the Las Vegas Review Journal's Best of Las Vegas Awards in 2013. They extended their contract until November 2016.
Film, radio and television
Donny & Marie
In 1974, he and Marie co-hosted The Mike Douglas Show for a week, and were later offered a show of their own by Fred Silverman, The Donny & Marie Show, a television variety series which aired on ABC between 1976 and 1979. Osmond felt that their program should have been continued for at least another television season, and has expressed regret that the show was cancelled, as opposed to them deciding when to bring the show to conclusion.
Donny and Marie also co-hosted a talk show together 20 years later. Though ratings were high and they were nominated for an Emmy Award for best talk show, the series was ultimately canceled. In a 1999 episode featuring Jefferson Starship promoting their album “Windows of Heaven”, the hosts performed a rendition of “Volunteers” live with the band.
On May 8, 1978 at the age of 20, Osmond married Debra Glenn in the Salt Lake Temple. She was born in Billings, Montana on February 26, 1958. Together they have five sons: Donald Clark Osmond, Jr. (b. 1979), Jeremy James Osmond (b. 1981), Brandon Michael Osmond (b. 1985), Christopher Glenn Osmond (b. 1990), and Joshua Davis Osmond (b. 1998).
Donny Osmond became a grandfather on August 21, 2005, when his second son Jeremy and daughter in law Melisa (married 2002) had son Dylan James Osmond. They later had daughter Emery Anne (b. 2008) and second son Ryder James (b. 2013). Osmond's third son Brandon married Shelby Hansen in 2008. Their son, Daxton Michael, was born on June 28, 2010. Brandon and Shelby's second son, Tayte Darton Osmond, was born on August 1, 2012. Brandon and Shelby's third son Benson Stanley was born in November 29, 2014. Their fourth son Peder was born August 3, 2017. Donny's eldest son, Donald Jr., married Jessica Nelson on October 1, 2010, in the Oquirrh Mountain Temple, and the couple had their first child, a son, Truman Clark Osmond, on January 9, 2013. Their second son Leo was born in 2015. Their third son Willim was born in 2017.