|Birth Date||9 December 1957|
|Known For||Actor, Singer|
|Highest Score||30 (Freestyle & Argentine Tango)|
|Lowest Score||20 (Foxtrot)|
Osmond was born in Ogden, Utah, the seventh son of Olive May Osmond (née Davis) and George Virl Osmond. 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 which later included tracks with youngest brother Jimmy as well). 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. In 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 in 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 in 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 in the show and gained popularity quickly. Donny Osmond made his debut in the show at the age of five singing "You Are My Sunshine". The brothers continued to perform in 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 eighty million records in a single twelve-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 in the Here's Lucy show, where he sang "Too Young" to Lucille Ball's niece, played by Eve Plumb, and sang "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" with Lucie Arnaz.
In the 1980s, Osmond re-invented himself as a solo vocal artist 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 put Osmond together with 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 US 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 21 December 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.
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 sixtieth 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 in 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 recently extended their contract until November 2016.
Film, Radio, and Television
Donny & Marie
In the mid-1970s, he and Marie co-hosted The Mike Douglas Show for a week, and were later offered a show of their own, 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 twenty 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.
Osmond went on to host Pyramid, a syndicated version of the Dick Clark-hosted television game show that ran two seasons in the US from 2002 to 2004, and a British version of Pyramid on Challenge in 2007.
Osmond returned to ABC as host of The Great American Dream Vote, a prime-time reality/game show that debuted in March 2007. After earning lackluster ratings in its first two episodes, the program was cancelled.
Osmond hosted the British version of the game show Identity on BBC Two during the daytime.
On 11 April 2008, Osmond also hosted the 2008 Miss USA pageant along with his sister Marie from Las Vegas.
Osmond appeared on Entertainment Tonight as a commentator covering the ABC show Dancing with the Stars during his sister Marie's run as a contestant on the 5th season of the American version of the popular show in Fall of 2007. He was seen at Week 7 of the competition in tears in the audience watching Marie do a rumba after his and Marie's father died.
In January 2010 it was announced that Osmond would host his own syndicated radio show in a deal with McVay Syndication and Citadel Media. Versions of The Donny Osmond Show now air across the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK. The show is already rating No. 1 in numerous markets and is currently one of the fastest growing radio propositions.
The UK edition of the show is co-produced by London-based radio production & syndication company Blue Revolution. Through this partnership the first UK network to carry The Donny Osmond Show is Celador-owned The Breeze, which has outlets in Portsmouth, Southampton, Isle of Wight, Winchester, Bridgwater & West Somerset, Bristol, Bath and Warminster. As of January 2012, The Donny Osmond Show is no longer broadcasting on The Breeze.
From April 2012 Smooth Radio carried The Donny Osmond Show on Sunday evenings. It aired until April 2013 when Osmond decided to leave the station.
Osmond's name was used in the lyrics of Alice Cooper's song "Department of Youth" near the end. Cooper asks the kids doing the background vocals "who gave them the power," where the kids reply "Donny Osmond." Cooper then responds with an outraged "What?"
His first foray into Broadway musical theater was the lead role in a revival of the 1904 George M. Cohan show Little Johnny Jones. Osmond replaced another former teen idol, David Cassidy, who left the show while it was on its pre-Broadway tour. After 29 previews and only one performance, the show closed 21 March 1982.
Osmond found success in musical theater through much of the 1990s when he starred in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for over two thousand performances. During his performances for the musical, he suffered from social anxiety disorder, which caused him to feel light-headed and extremely nervous during his performances. In 1997, Osmond left his starring role in the tour to participate with his family in the cast of the Hill Cumorah Pageant.
He returned to Broadway 19 September 2006, in the role of Gaston in Disney's Beauty and the Beast. He was scheduled to perform for nine weeks, but due to popular demand he extended his run through 24 December. Liz Smith of the New York Post wrote, "I am here to tell you he is charmingly campy, good-looking and grand as the villain 'Gaston', patterned after our old friend Elvis", and noting "Donny is divine". On 29 July 2007, Osmond played Gaston again for the final performance of Beauty and the Beast.
Osmond and his sister Marie starred in a holiday production called Donny & Marie – A Broadway Christmas, which was originally scheduled to play on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre from 9 to 19 December 2010. The show was then extended till 30 December 2010 and again till 2 January 2011. Donny & Marie – Christmas in Chicago played the Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre in Chicago from 6 to 24 December 2011. It was similar to the 2010 Broadway show. In December 2014, they again performed a similar Broadway show, receiving very positive reviews.
In the animated television series Johnny Bravo, Osmond voiced himself as a recurring character. He has also done guest spots on numerous other television shows such as Friends, Diagnosis: Murder, and Hannah Montana. He also appeared in a Pepsi Twist commercial during the Super Bowl with his sister, Marie, and Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. In 1982, he co-starred with Priscilla Barnes and Joan Collins in the television movie, The Wild Women of Chastity Gulch, for Aaron Spelling.
In 1978 he appeared in Goin' Coconuts with sister Marie. His future wife Debbie made a cameo appearance at the end of the film.
In 1998, Osmond was chosen to be the singing voice of Shang in Disney's Mulan. He sang "I'll Make a Man out of You".
Also in 1999, he starred as Joseph in the movie version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by Andrew Lloyd Webber's request who said, "to me there is no better selection."
In 2002 he sang "No One Has to Be Alone" for the end credits of The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water.
In the Bob the Builder special, Built to be Wild, he played Jackaroo the pickup truck.
Osmond remarked in an interview recently that with his movie appearance in College Road Trip and upcoming appearances on two Disney Channel shows that he would coming about full circle since he and his family were discovered by Walt Disney.
Osmond appears in the music video of "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "White & Nerdy". The song is a parody of Chamillionaire's "Ridin'"; Osmond's role is analogous to that of Krayzie Bone's role in the original video. Yankovic asked Osmond to appear because "if you have to have a white and nerdy icon in your video, like who else do you go for?"
Osmond states that he has had a tremendous public image struggle since Donny & Marie ended in 1979. He has been described as 'unhip', as a 'boy scout', and has been the butt of innumerable jokes, including appearing in the video "White & Nerdy" at the request of his friend, Yankovic, since he was 'the whitest guy [he] could think of'. His image has seemed such a liability that one professional publicist even suggested that Osmond purposefully get arrested for drug possession in order to change his image. In March 2010, Osmond criticized Lady Gaga and Beyoncé for using profanity and sex in their "Telephone" video.
Osmond married Debra Glenn (born in Billings, Montana 26 February 1959) on 8 May 1978, in the Salt Lake Temple at age twenty. 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).
Osmond became a grandfather 21 August 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 28 June 2010. Brandon and Shelby's second son, Tayte Darton Osmond, was born 1 August 2012. Brandon and Shelby's third son Benson Stanley was born in November 2014. Donny's eldest son, Donald Jr., married Jessica Nelson 1 October 2010, in the Oquirrh Mountain Temple, and the couple had their first child, a son, Truman Clark Osmond, 9 January 2013.
Like the rest of his family, he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In retrospect, he has written, "It would have been nice to be able to have served a regular full-time mission, but when I was of that age, my career was such that everyone, including my parents and the leaders of the church, thought that I could do a lot of good in the world by continuing being in the public eye, by living an exemplary life and sharing my beliefs in every way that I could." He continues sharing his beliefs in an extensive letters-and-comments portion of his website.
In the aftermath of Proposition 8 in California, which received large Mormon support, Osmond stated that he opposes same-sex marriage but that he does not condemn homosexuality. He believes that gays and lesbians should be accepted in the church if they remain celibate.
He stated on his website:
We all determine for ourselves what is right and what is not right for our own lives and how we live God's commandments. I am not a judge and I will never judge anyone for the decisions they make unless they are causing harm to another individual. I love my friends, including my homosexual friends. We are all God's children. It is their choice, not mine on how they conduct their lives and choose to live the commandments according to the dictates of their own conscience.
Osmond's two oldest brothers are deaf and his nephew is hard of hearing. He has talked about the experience of growing up with his brothers and their use of sign language when performing together:
My oldest brother was born 85 percent deaf and the next was born worse with almost total deafness. My parents were told by everyone, doctors included, to stop having kids. Thank God, they at least went as far as seven! Anyhow, they decided they were not going to treat my brothers differently [or lower their expectations.] My brothers talk and communicate verbally. They also sign and do have that down quite well. As a matter of fact, we used sign language when we were performing together as a group. There's this one number we did on The Donny and Marie Show, it was amazing—even when we were taping it. It was a huge production number and my brothers learned the routine. Obviously they couldn't really hear the music, but they could feel the beat and they'd watch us out of the corner of their eyes to make sure they were still in tempo.
Dancing with the Stars 9
Osmond and professional Kym Johnson were paired for the 2009 ninth season of Dancing with the Stars; he participated in the show to prove he was a better dancer than his sister. It was very difficult for him to manage to get to rehearsals and host his show in Las Vegas with sister Marie. For the first week, the two were assigned to dance a Foxtrot and a thirty-second Salsa. His Foxtrot was said to be "too theatrical" and was scored 20/30 from the judges. He however managed to maintain a good score when his Salsa scored 10 points and was safe that week. He danced a Jive the following week which was guest judged by Baz Luhrmann. He scored 25 and was scored 2nd place, called first to be safe. That following week he danced a rumba and scored 21.
After his comments, he "toyed-with" openly gay judge Bruno Tonioli, first kissing him, before embracing him and tipping him back in a mock-passionate move after Bruno called Osmond's dance "a bit airy fairy." The following week introduced four new dances including the Charleston, which he danced and scored 24. That following week, the two danced an Argentine Tango which scored 29/30, the highest-scored dance until it was beaten by then leader topping scorer and future runner-up Mýa and her 70s-themed Samba. He had also received that week's encore.
Following that week, Osmond and Johnson danced a train-station themed Jitterbug and was scored a 24. He then danced a Mambo against all couples and was eliminated 6th receiving 7 points for a total of 31/40. The following week, he danced a Quickstep which he quotes "was one of the worst moments of my life" and scored 24 and a Team Tango along with Joanna Krupa and Kelly Osbourne and received 28/30 and the encore.
In the eighth week of competition, Osmond was required to dance a Ballroom and decade-themed Latin dance. His Ballroom Viennese Waltz received 26 but his 1980s themed Paso Doble received 24 being quoted by judge Len Goodman as "the most scariest, bizarre Paso Doble we've ever seen" being awarded last place on the judges' leaderboard for the first time. Following that week, he danced a Tango and got advice from past runner-up Gilles Marini. He got tangled in Johnson's dress and received 21 and saying the cause was that "I saw Marie". He then danced a samba to a song originally recorded by his brothers and himself called "One Bad Apple", receiving 26 and a Jitterbug scored 27. He once again was scored last place.
For the finals week, he danced a Cha-Cha-Cha (27), a Megamix dance alongside Mýa and Kelly Osbourne (28), the only perfect-scoring Freestyle (30) and a repeat of his Argentine Tango (30) and won the competition. As he accepted his trophy, he hugged fellow finalist Mýa and grabbed his wife Debbie and his sister Marie on stage.
In Season 18, he guest judged Week 5 for Disney Night. Again, in October 2014 he guest judged on the British version of the show, Strictly Come Dancing.
|Week #||Dance/Song||Judges' Scores||Result|
|1||Foxtrot/ "All That Jazz"|
|2||Jive / "Secret Agent Man"||8||9*||8||Safe|
|3||Rumba/ "Endless Love"||7||7||7||Safe|
|4||Charleston/ "Put a Lid on It"||8||8||8||Safe|
|5||Argentine Tango/ "Tango a Pugliese"|
|6||Jitterbug/ "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie"|
Mambo/ "Ran Kan Kan"
|7||Quickstep/ "Sing, Sing, Sing"|
Tango/ "You Give Love a Bad Name"
|8||Viennese Waltz/ "You Don't Know Me"|
80's Paso Doble/ "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)"
|9||Tango/ "Black and Gold"|
Samba/ "One Bad Apple"
Jitterbug/"Jump Shout Boogie"
- Score was awarded by stand in judge Baz Luhrmann.
- He is the first male contestant to win Dancing with the Stars since Hélio Castroneves won Season 5.
- His younger sister (and hosting partner), Marie Osmond, made it to the finals in Season 5, finishing in third place.
- At 51 years old, Donny is the oldest celebrity to win Dancing with the Stars.