Donald Clark Osmond, better known by his stage name Donny Osmond. He is best known for being the youngest and most famed member of the five-piece family music group The Osmonds. The band offered listeners a lighthearted mix of R&B, pop, disco, soul, funk, and occasionally even country.
The Osmonds started out as a barbershop quartet in their hometown of Ogden, Utah but eventually received international recognition. Experiencing the height of their fame in the early to mid-70s. With his four older brothers, Donny would put out several top ten hits and gold albums.
Eventually, Donny branched out and started a solo career, putting out a number of top ten songs of his own. He gained further fame thanks to the success of the variety television series Donny & Marie, which aired on ABC from 1976 to 1979.
With his sister, Marie Osmond, by his side, Donny would go on release a slew of hit singles while selling millions of records and performing at sold-out shows.
Simply put, Donny Osmond has lived his entire life either in front of the camera or in the recording booth. And he’s spent years trying to overcome the dreaded former-child star curse. Even though he got his start in show business at the tender age of 5, Donny has tried to keep himself out of trouble and scandal-free over the years. And judging by his squeaky-clean track record, we think he’s done a pretty decent job at that.
Talking to Fox News, Osmond recently said that when someone hits it big when they are just a child or teen. It becomes somewhat a curse because everyone wants to keep them, as he put it, ‘in a pigeonhole’.
It’s a tale as old as time. The plight of the former child star has become almost a meme. All too often, those that found fame and fortune as a kid are destined to fall into obscurity once they hit adulthood while winding up maladapted, often drug-addicted adults. Otherwise they spend the rest of their careers capitalizing on the fact that they were once a cute. Fresh-faced kid that everyone once obsessed with.
As you’re probably already aware, Donny recently spent many years both as a performer and guest judge on Dancing with the Stars between 2009 and 2018. And just last year, he put out his 18th solo studio album, Start Again.
And beyond that, he and Marie spent 11 years between 2008 and 2019 headlining a popular stage show at the Flamingo Las Vegas casino-hotel.
Join Facts Verse as we figure out how Donny Osmond managed to overcome the odds and break the former child-star curse. Even though he could have easily wound up becoming a washed-up has been. Osmond has enjoyed a decades-spanning career that is still alive and well to this day.
But before we reveal the secret to his long-standing success. Let’s a take a moment to reflect on his early years as a teen idol.
Donny Osmond’s Rise
Donny was born on the 9th of December, 1957, in Ogden, Utah. He was the seventh son of George Virl Osmond and Olive May. He raised in a musical Mormon household. As previously mentioned, The the family band got it’s start first as The Osmond Brother’s. A barbershop quartet consisting of Donny’s brother’s Alan, Wayne, Jay, and Merrill. Donny and his sibling Jimmy both joined the band later on.
Before Donny included in the outfit, The Osmond Brother’s had gained national attention when they performed on The Andy Williams Show. Quickly, they proved to be a valuable asset to the program. And after Donny joined in 1963, making his debut on the show at the age of five singing the song ‘You Are My Sunshine’, the group enjoyed mounting popularity.
The Osmonds would continue to perform on The Andy Williams Show throughout the 60s, occasionally alongside their sister Marie.
Donny and his brothers would become teen idols in the 1970s. And once Donny started his solo career, he enjoyed a tremendous amount of success and popularity. Suddenly it was his face that plastered on the covers of all the Teen magazines.
His first solo hit was 1971s ‘Sweet and Innocent’ – a cover of a 1958 Roy Orbison song. The track peaked at number 7 on the US charts. He followed that up with songs like ‘Go Away Little Girl’, which peaked at number 1, ‘Puppy Love’, which hit number 3, and ‘Hey Girl/I Knew You When’, which went to number 9.
After putting out those singles and appearing on Here’s Lucy in 1972 performing his song ‘Too Young’, Donny skyrocketed to international fame.
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The Singing Siblings
In 1974, Donny and his sister Marie co-hosted the program The Mike Douglas Show for a week. Liking what he saw and seeing an opportunity to cash in on their chemistry, television producer Fred Silverman offered the brother-sister duet their own show.
The Donny & Marie Show, a variety series, premiered on ABC in 1976. It enjoyed high ratings for three seasons before wrapping up in 1979.
Donny & Marie would put out seven studio albums together in addition to a dozen singles. A live album, and one soundtrack.
Donny Reinvented Himself In The ’80s
By the 1980s, all of the Osmonds had retired their earlier image that had initially concocted to appeal to a younger audience. They wanted to no longer seen as teen fluff – instead hoping to tap into the adult market.
Donny’s brothers all shifted towards country music, with modestly successful results. Donny, however, was able to breathe new life into his career by putting out pop music. In 1985, he appeared in Jeff Beck’s music video for his song “Ambitious”. The following year, he made yet another unexpected cameo in the animated music video for Luis Cardena’s ‘Runaway’.
For the next several years, he worked as a performer before enlisting the help of the legendary music and entertainment producer Steven Machat. Who teamed him up with Peter Grabirl to try to transform his image into a contemporary pop act.
The move proved to be a success as Donny’s 1989 song ‘Soldier of Love’ rose to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. His follow up effort, ‘Sacred Emotion’, likewise broke the top twenty. Donny then embarked on an extensive international tour promoting his album ‘Eyes Don’t Lie’ while playing alongside Earth Wind and & Fire, Mark Jackson, and Kenny Loggins’ guitarist Dick Smith.
Keeping It Fresh
In 1991, Osmond provided guest vocals on Dweezil Zappa’s star-studded remake of the Bee Gee’s hit Stayin’ Alive, which appeared on Zappa’s ‘Confession’s album. He then could be heard during the end credits of the animated film The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water. And singing the song ‘No One Hast To Be Alone’. Donny’s talents were again enlisted for a children’s film when he sang the song ‘I’ll Make A Man Out Of You’ for Disney’s 1998 box-office hit Mulan.
In the aughts, Donny released a Christmas Album as well as an album consisting of some of his favorite Broadway songs. He followed that up with a compilation of popular love songs.
In 2004, he achieved Top 10 success once again on the UK charts for his song ‘Breeze On By’. And which he co-wrote with fellow former teen idol, Gary Barlow. The song was performed by the English boy band Take That and reached number 8.
The Vegas Years
After Marie’s appearance on Dancing with the Stars in 2007, Donny and his sister teamed up once again for a six-week limited engagement in Vegas. The show proved to be so successful, however, that it ended up running for 11 years from 2008 to 2019.
Donny & Marie performed in front of an enthusiastic audience of 750 at a showroom at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino. Throughout those 90 minute shows, the siblings were backed by a nine-piece band and eight dancers.
Donny and Marie would sing together at the start and conclusion of each show and had solo segments in-between those numbers. The residency proved to be so much of success that the Flamingo Hotel even renamed the showroom the Donny and Marie Theater in 2014.
Donny Never Backed Down
The now 64-year old star recently relayed a story about when he was just 21. He apparently told by someone in the industry that he was a has-been. When he heard that term, he refused to accept it. From that point on, he committed to fighting as hard as he had to keep making it in show business.
In order to keep finding success in a notoriously cut-throat, dog-eat-dog industry, Donny says that he has had to go through many different incarnations to stay relevant. Each time that one of those incarnations would run it’s course. He would find himself having to reinvent himself from the ground up once again.
Many people don’t know how to successfully do this on their own. Once the execs and producers decide they are done with a star. Many times that means the end for their career. But what makes Donny different, as he has explained many times to inquisitive reporters, is his passion. He told The Post earlier this year that even though it might sound cliché, he loves what he does. He loves getting up on stage, singing and entertaining.
To him, it’s still a job, but it’s one that he genuinely is passionate about it. As such, he has worked hard to get to where he is today.
Donny Osmond really has gone about and beyond all of our expectations. If you were alive to witness the Osmond’s at their peak in the early-70s. You probably wouldn’t have expected for Donny to go on and become the iconic entertainer that he ultimately evolved into.
What are some of your favorite memories of Donny Osmond? And do you think that he would have been as successful as he became without that drive – that passion – that he clearly seems to possess? Let us know in the comments.
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