Donny Osmond has seen success in many guises during his career as a singer. Beginning as a member of the Osmonds with his older brothers in the mid-1960s, he branched out to become a solo teen idol during the 1970s. With his sister, Marie Osmond, he also hosted a television variety series for three years. After a long period of fading popularity due to what David Wild in Rolling Stone called his “squeaky-clean image,” Osmond grabbed the spotlight again with his 1989 album, Donny Osmond, which has yielded two hit singles—“Soldier of Love” and “Sacred Emotion.”
Born Donald Clark Osmond December 9, 1957, in Ogden, Utah, to Mormon parents, the singer’s story really begins with his older brothers. Alan, Wayne, Merrill, and Jay Osmond had already garnered some measure of fame by the time Donny was ready to join their group. They had begun performing in church; as their reputation spread, the Osmonds sang at Mormon houses of worship throughout the western United States. Eventually they won a stint crooning at Disneyland, and appeared on Andy Williams’s television variety show. Their specialty—for secular performances—was barbershop-style harmony, but a few years after Donny made the Osmonds a quintet, they won a contract with MGM Records and became pop-oriented.
With Donny as their lead singer, the Osmond Brothers scored their first big hit in 1971, the number-one single “One Bad Apple.” During the same year, Donny launched his solo career with the top ten hit “Sweet and Innocent” and the even more successful “Go Away Little Girl,” a remake of a song that had already been a hit twice—once for Steve Lawrence and once for the Happenings. For the remainder of the early 1970s Donny divided his musical efforts, continuing to record with his brothers, but also making several solo albums, including To You With Love, Too Young, and Alone Together. He scored chart hits with the singles “Puppy Love”—a remake of the old Paul Anka song, “Why,” and “Too Young.”
From 1974 to 1979, the most successful facet of Donny Osmond’s career was that involving his sister, Marie. She had come to solo success in the country music genre with the 1973 smash “Paper Roses,” and had a follow-up hit, “I’m Leaving It All Up to You,” with Donny the next year. They made a total of five albums together; after the first two, however, they were signed by the American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to host a television variety show. Though the series proved popular enough to last three years—an impressive accomplishment during the late 1970s—Donny and the other Osmonds were having problems with their image. As Wild put it, they “were so unhip as to be anachronisms.” Because of the Osmond family’s commitment to the Church of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Donny and his
Full name Donald Clark Osmond; born December 9, 1957, in Ogden, Utah; son of George and Olive Osmond; married. Religion: Church of Latter-day Saints (Mormon).
Vocalist, keyboardist; member of group the Osmonds, mid-1960s to 1980; solo recording artist and concert performer c 1971—; duet performer with sister, Marie Osmond, 1974-79. Appeared on television variety shows, including the “Andy Williams Show” and the “Donny and Marie Show,” and in the film Going Coconuts. Also starred in the Broadway musical Little Johnny Jones.
Awards: Several gold albums.
Addresses: 3 Corporate Plaza #220, Newport Beach, CA 92664.
siblings wished to put forth only wholesome entertainment, suitable for the entire family. This attitude was seen as old-fashioned and unrealistic by critics, and by much of the music audience. Donny (and the other singing Osmonds) always, however, managed to hold on to a small but devoted following for their records.
In 1980 the Osmond Brothers stopped recording for two years; when they came back together, Donny did not join them. Instead, he concentrated on the production aspect of the music industry, and one of his more noteworthy accomplishments in this area was directing a television special for pop and jazz artist Grover Washington, Jr. He also starred in a revival of the Broadway musical “Little Johnny Jones,” but the problem of his wholesome reputation followed him to the stage. Osmond told Wild: “The show was great—we had to stop it twice on opening night for standing ovations. Then the reviews came out. All they could talk about was my image.” The show was thus shortlived.
But according to Wild, the experience brought home to Osmond just how big an obstacle he had to overcome to regain success. Nevertheless, he remained determined, and fought hard for another chance at recording. He was almost chosen as the lead singer for a fledgling group called Air Play, and he made a cameo appearance in a video for fellow musician Jeff Beck. But Osmond credits rock star Peter Gabriel with helping him back to the charts. Not only did he allow Osmond to use his recording studio in Bath, England, but “he gave me credibility,” Osmond admitted to Wild. Osmond also took on a new look in hopes of defeating his image problem, featuring a stubbly beard, jeans, and leather jacket, which led many critics to make comparisons with pop artist George Michael. Osmond denies Michael’s influence.
All of Osmond’s efforts have paid off, however, for his 1989 album Donny Osmond is a resounding success. The first single, “Soldier of Love,” which Wild described as “an infectious…dance-rock number,” reached the number two position on the charts. He scored a followup hit with the love ballad “Sacred Emotion.” Another cut from the album, “Secret Touch,” was inspired by Osmond’s courtship of his wife; he says that he had to date her in secret for three years because of the constant attention he received as a teen idol. Osmond is thrilled by the airplay that his 1989 hits have received. “This is the first time radio people are playing my record[s] because they want to,” he commented to Wild. “Back in the Seventies, they played ’em because they had to.”
The Donny Osmond Album, MGM, 1971.
To You With Love, MGM, 1971.
Portrait of Donny, MGM, 1972.
Too Young, MGM, 1972.
Alone Together, MGM, 1973.
Disco Train, Polygram, 1976.
Donald Clark Osmond, Polygram, 1977.
Donny Osmond (includes “Soldier of Love,” “Sacred Emotion,” and “Secret Touch”), Capitol, 1989.
LPs; with the Osmond Brothers
The Osmonds, MGM, 1971.
Homemade, MGM, 1971.
Phase III, MGM, 1972.
Crazy Horses, MGM, 1972.
The Plan, MGM, 1973.
Around the World Live in Concert, MGM, 1976.
Osmonds’ Christmas Album, Polygram, 1976.
Brainstorm, Polygram, 1976.
Osmonds’ Greatest Hits, Polygram, 1977.
Steppin’ Out, Mercury, 1978.
LPs; with Marie Osmond
I’m Leaving It All Up to You, MGM, 1974.
Make the World Go Away, MGM, c 1975.
New Season, Polygram, 1976.
Winning Combination, Polygram, 1978.
Goin’ Coconuts, Polygram, 1978.
Daly, Marsha, Osmonds: A Family Biography, St. Martin’s, 1983. Dunn, Paul H., The Osmonds, Avon, 1977.
Rolling Stone, August 10, 1989.
Osmond, Donny 1957–
OSMOND, Donny 1957–
Full name, Donald Clark Osmond; born December 9, 1957, in Ogden, UT; son of George Virl and Olive May (maiden name, David) Osmond; brother of Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay Osmond ("The Osmond Brothers"), Jimmy Osmond (an actor and singer), and Marie Osmond (an actress and singer); married Debra Glenn, May 8, 1978; children: Donald Clark, Jeremy James, Brandon Michael, Christopher Glen, Joshua Davis. Religion: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–day Saints (Mormons).
Addresses: Contact— c/o Bill Waite, 1570 Brookhollow Dr., Santa Ana, CA 92705–5428. Publicist— Lewis Kay, Bragman/Nyman/Cafarelli, 9171 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 300, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.
Career: Actor, producer, and singer. Performed with the family singing group The Osmonds, beginning c. 1961; solo performer, 1971—. Appeared in television commercial for Pepsi Twist, 2003.
Awards, Honors: American Music Award (with others), country favorite duo or group, 1976; Georgie Award (with Marie Osmond), best vocal team, American Guild of Variety Artists, 1978; Daytime Emmy Award nominations (with others), outstanding talk show and outstanding talk show host, 2000 and 2001, for Donny & Marie; Daytime Emmy Award nomination, outstanding game show host, 2003, for Pyramid; DVD Premiere Award nomination (with others), best original song, 2003, for The Land before Time IX: Journey to the Big Water; at least twelve gold records, Recording Industry Association of America.
Television Appearances; Series:
The Andy Williams Show, NBC, 1963–1971.
The Jerry Lewis Show, NBC, 1967–1969.
Voice of Donny, The Osmonds (animated), ABC, 1972–1974.
Cohost, Donny and Marie (syndicated as The Best of Donny and Marie ), ABC, 1976–1979.
Cohost, The Osmond Family Show, ABC, 1979.
Voice of Trendoid, Nilus the Sandman, 1994.
Cohost, Donny and Marie (also known as The Donny and Marie Hour ), syndicated, 1998–2000.
Dale's All Stars, BBC1, 2000.
Making the Band, ABC, 2001.
Host, Pyramid, syndicated, 2002—.
Television Appearances; Pilots:
Irving Foy, The Seven Little Foys (broadcast as an episode of Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre ), NBC, 1964.
Frank Isaacs, The Wild Women of Chastity Gulch, ABC, 1982.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
"Lucy and Donny Osmond," Here's Lucy, CBS, 1972.
"Married Singles," The Love Boat, ABC, 1977.
The Brady Bunch, 1976.
The Barbara Walters Special, 1978.
Danny Fields, "The Kinfolk/Sis and the Slicker/Moonlight and Moonshine/Affair: Parts 1 & 2," The Love Boat, 1980.
Pink Lady, 1980.
"A Christmas Presence," The Love Boat, 1982.
Himself, "King Kube," Parker Lewis Can't Lose, 1990.
Late Show with David Letterman, 1994, 1997.
Himself, "Fire Drill," Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Cartoon Network, 1995.
Guest, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1996.
Guest, The Pat Bullard Show, syndicated, 1997.
Voice, "Johnny Bravo Meets Donny Osmond," Johnny Bravo (animated), Cartoon Network, 1997.
Voice, "As My Career Lay Dying," The Larry Sanders Show, HBO, 1998.
Himself, "Supermarket Story," The King of Queens, CBS, 1998.
The Howard Stern Show, E! Entertainment Television, 1998.
Wheel of Fortune, syndicated, 1998.
"Return of the Owl," V.I.P., syndicated, 1999.
"The Mouth That Roared," Diagnosis Murder, CBS, 1999.
Gabe, "The Last Temptation of Chris," Daddio, NBC, 2000.
"Meet By–Product," The King of Queens, CBS, 2000.
"Video Gurl," Movie Stars, The WB, 2000.
Breakfast, BBC, 2001.
So Graham Norton, Channel 4, 2001.
Rove Live, Ten Network, 2001.
Contestant, "Celebrity Fear Factor," Fear Factor, NBC, 2001.
The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, 2002.
JKX: The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, The WB, 2003.
Judge, Star Search, CBS, 2003.
The Kumars at No. 42, BBC, 2003.
The Wayne Brady Show, syndicated, 2003.
Television Appearances; Specials:
Cohost, The Osmond Brothers Show, CBS, 1971.
Cohost, The Osmonds Special, CBS, 1974.
Cohost, The Donny and Marie Osmond Show, ABC, 1975.
Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope's Christmas Party, NBC, 1975.
Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope's Bicentennial Star–Spangled Spectacular, NBC, 1976.
A Tribute to "Mr. Television, " Milton Berle, NBC, 1978.
General Electric's All–Star Anniversary, ABC, 1978.
Bob Hope Special: Happy Birthday, Bob!, NBC, 1978.
Cohost, The Donny and Marie Christmas Special, ABC, 1979.
Cohost, The Osmond Family Christmas Special, NBC, 1980.
Disneyland's 25th Anniversary, CBS, 1980.
Cohost, The Osmond Family Thanksgiving Special, NBC, 1981.
Christmas in Washington, NBC, 1984.
It's Garry Shandling's Show—25th Anniversary Special, Showtime, 1986.
Children's Miracle Network Telethon, syndicated, 1991.
Voices That Care, Fox, 1991.
Super Bowl Saturday Night, TNT, 1992.
American Bandstand's Teen Idols, NBC, 1994.
The Daily Show Holiday Spectacular, Comedy Central, 1996.
The 67th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade, 1998.
Hollywood and Vinyl: Disney's 101 Greatest Musical Moments, VH1, 1998.
Singing voice of Captain Shang, Reflections on Ice: Michelle Kwan Skates to the Music of Disney's "Mulan, " ABC, 1998.
Walt Disney World Very Merry Christmas Parade, 1998.
Andrew Lloyd Webber 50th Birthday Celebration, PBS, 1999.
The Great American History Quiz, The History Channel, 1999.
A Rosie Christmas, ABC, 1999.
The Four Freshman: 50 Years Fresh!, PBS, 1999.
The Osmonds: Pure and Simple, Arts and Entertainment, 1999.
Host, The 79th Annual Miss America Pageant, ABC, 1999.
Host, "PBS Showcase," Requiem, PBS, 2000.
My Romance: An Evening With Jim Brickman, PBS, 2000.
Interviewee, The Life and Times of the Osmonds, TNN, 2000.
Host and Joseph, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," Great Performances, PBS, 2000.
Interviewee, Intimate Portrait: Marie Osmond, Lifetime, 2000.
Host, The 80th Annual Miss America Pageant, ABC, 2000.
Celebrity Profile: Donny Osmond, E! Entertainment Television, 2000.
Interviewee, Joan Rivers: The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 2001.
Donny Osmond: This Is the Moment, PBS, 2001.
A Capitol Fourth, PBS, 2001.
Heart–throbs of the 70s (documentary), 2001.
The Royal Variety Performance 2001, ITV, 2001.
The Way They Were: Rock & Pop Special, LWT, 2001.
An Audience with Donny Osmond, 2002.
We Are Family (documentary), BBC, 2003.
ABC's 50th Anniversary Bloopers Celebration, ABC, 2003.
Television Appearances; Movies:
Inside the Osmonds (also known as The Osmonds ), ABC, 2001.
Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:
Presenter, The 28th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 1976.
The American Music Awards, 1977.
Presenter, The 11th American Music Awards, 1984.
The 18th Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 1991.
The 21st Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 1994.
Presenter, The 26th Annual American Music Awards, 1999.
Presenter, The 26th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, 1999.
Presenter, The 30th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, ABC, 2003.
Television Work; Series:
Creator, The Blue Jean Network, 1981.
Producer, Donny and Marie (also known as The Donny and Marie Hour ), syndicated, 1998.
Consulting producer, Pyramid, syndicated, 2002.
Donny, Goin' Coconuts, 1978.
Singing voice of Captain Li Shang, Mulan (animated), Buena Vista, 1998.
(In archive footage) Li Shang, Disney Sing–Along–Songs: Honor to Us All, The Walt Disney Company, 1999.
Breaking the Silence: The Making of 'Hannibal', 2001.
Title role, Little Johnny Jones, Alvin Theatre, New York City, 1982.
Title role, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, U.S. cities, 1992–1996, then Canadian cities, beginning in 1997.
Albums; with the Osmonds:
The Osmonds, 1971.
The Osmonds "Live ", 1972.
The Plan, 1973.
Love Me for a Reason, 1974.
The Osmond Christmas Album, 1976.
The Osmonds—The Singles, 2002.
The Donny Osmond Album, 1971.
To You With Love, 1971.
Portrait of Donny, 1972.
Crazy Horses, 1972.
Too Young, 1972.
My Best to You, 1972.
Alone Together, 1973.
A Time for Us, 1973.
Collector's Edition, 1974.
Donny & Marie, 1975.
Make the World Go Away, 1975.
I'm Still Gonna Need You, 1975.
Around the World, Live In Concert, 1975.
Just For You, 1975.
Disco Train, 1976.
Donald Clark Osmond, 1977.
A Winning Combination, 1977.
Greatest Hits, 1977.
America Fest, 1984.
Donny Osmond – UK, 1989.
Donny Osmond, 1989.
Eyes Don't Lie, 1990.
Greatest Hits, 1992.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (original Broadway cast recording), 1994.
Best of Donny Osmond, 1994.
Twenty Five Hits, 1995.
The Best of Donny Osmond—Excelsior, 1996.
Christmas at Home, Nightstar, 1997.
Mulan (soundtrack), 1998.
This Is the Moment, 2001.
The Best of Donny Osmond—the Millennium Collection, 2002.
Donny Osmond—The Singles, 2002.
Somewhere In Time, 2002.
Albums; with Donnie & Marie:
I'm Leaving It All Up to You, MGM, 1973.
Donnie & Marie—Featuring Songs from Their Television Show, Polydor, 1976.
Donnie & Marie—New Season, 1976.
Goin' Coconuts, 1978.
The Best of Donny and Marie—The Millennium Collection, 2002.
Joseph, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, 1999.
Also appeared in the music video Voices That Care.
Donny and Marie (also known as The Donny and Marie Hour ), syndicated, 1998–2000.
The Great Brain, 1978.
(With Patricia Romanowski) Life Is Just What You Make It: My Story So Far (autobiography), Hyperion, 1999.
Daly, Marsha, Osmonds: A Family Biography, St. Martin's, 1983.
Dunn, Paul H., The Osmonds, Avon, 1977.
Billboard, December 20, 1997, p. 96.
Entertainment Weekly, October 2, 1998, pp. 38–40; May 22, 1998, p. 80.
People Weekly, January 15, 1990, p. 82.
Time, July 5, 1999, p. 85.
TV Guide, September 26, 1998, pp. 34–38.
Donny Osmond Official Site, http://www.donny.com, November 13, 2003.