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Donald Clark "Donny" Osmond (born December 9, 1957) is an American singer, musician, actor, dancer, radio personality, 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 on the long running variety program, The Andy Williams Show. Donny went solo in the early 1970s covering such hits as "Go Away Little Girl" and "Puppy Love".
For over thirty-five years, he and younger sister Marie have gained fame as Donny & Marie, partly due to the success of their 1976–79 self-titled variety series, which aired on ABC. The duo also did a 1998–2000 talk show and have been headlining in Las Vegas since 2008. Between a highly successful teen career in the 1970s, and his rebirth in the 1990s, Osmond's career was stymied during the 1980s by what some have perceived as his "boy scout" image. Osmond stated on the May 1, 2009 Larry King Live show that longtime friend Michael Jackson suggested he change his name to boost his image. Osmond's agent even suggested that spreading false rumors about drug arrest charges might recharge his career. Osmond felt such allegations would have familial ramifications, and couldn't reconcile how lying to create a nefarious drug image could be explained to his children, nieces and nephews. In 1989, Osmond had two big-selling recordings, the first of which, "Soldier of Love", was initially credited to a "mystery artist" by some radio stations.
Starting in July 1992, Osmond played Joseph at the Elgin Theatre's Toronto production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The musical then toured North America until 1998. Creator Andrew Lloyd Webber, impressed by Osmond's talents and the show's successful six year run, chose him for the 1999 film version.
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). Donny was raised as a Mormon in Utah along with his siblings. Osmond later traced 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 commemorating 'the ancestors of Donny Osmond'.
The father of Andy Williams, Wendell, 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. Donny made his debut on the show at the age of 5 singing "You Are My Sunshine". The brothers continued to perform on the show throughout the 1960s along with a few visits 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.
Donny became a teen idol in the early 1970s as a solo singer, while continuing to sing with his older brothers. He, Bobby Sherman, and David Cassidy were the biggest "Cover Boy" pop stars for Tiger Beat magazine in the early 1970s. He had his first solo hit with "Sweet and Innocent", which peaked at No. 7 in the U.S. in 1971. His solo songs "Go Away Little Girl" (1971) (#1 in the U.S.), "Puppy Love" (U.S. #3), and "Hey Girl/I Knew You When" (U.S. #9) (1972) vaulted him into international fame. The fame was further advanced by his 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").
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", 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 Peter Gabriel to see whether Machat and Gabriel could turn the TV Osmond's image into a contemporary young pop act. They succeeded with the hit song Soldier of Love, 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 andKenny Loggins guitarist Dick Smith along with keyboardist Marc Jackson.
Donny 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.
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.
In early 2011 he is scheduled to record a new album, his 56th, with legendary producer Todd Rundgren.
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. Donny 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".
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