Born on October 13, 1959, in Ogden, Utah, to a large showbiz family, Marie Osmond is often remembered for her collaboration with her older brother as the pop duo Donny & Marie, with the two having their own TV variety program during the mid-1970s. Osmond established her own career as a top-selling country artist with albums like Paper Roses (featuring the No. 1 title track), Steppin' Stone and I Only Want You. She has also been featured on Broadway as well as a number of additional TV shows, including Dancing With the Stars.
Background and Early Life
Singer, actress, television personality and businesswoman Olive Marie Osmond was born on October 13, 1959, in Ogden, Utah. The only girl out of nine children, she was raised in an unusual show business family. Some of her older brothers started singing together as the Osmond Brothers. Managed by their father, George, the group's musical career took off after a 1962 appearance on The Andy Williams Show. The siblings became regular guests on the program, eventually becoming international pop sensations.
As a toddler, Marie appeared on Williams's show as well. The host joked that she was the "newest Osmond brother," but it wasn't long before she did join her famous siblings onstage. In her 2001 memoir, Osmond commented that she had little time for a normal childhood. She and her siblings worked hard, "memorizing scripts, learning to sing a song in Swedish ... for a foreign tour, spending long days dancing, playing instruments, and singing." She also indicated that she had been sexually abused as a child.
'Donny & Marie'
In 1973, Osmond had her first taste of solo success with her rendition of "Paper Roses," which climbed to No. 1 on the country music charts and broke into the top 5 on the pop charts. The subsequent album bearing the single's title also did well with country music fans. But her next two efforts, In My Little Corner of the World (1974) and Who's Sorry Now (1975), were unable to match her earlier accomplishments.
Teaming up with older brother Donny, Osmond scored two pop hits, "Morning Side of the Mountain" and "I'm Leaving It All Up to You," in 1974. A wholesome and photogenic pair, they had their own television special in 1975, which was a hit with viewers. This led to the siblings getting their own variety show the following year.
Debuting in January 1976, Donny & Marie was an hour-long program filled with songs and skits. Marie was "a little bit country" while Donny was "a little bit rock 'n' roll" according to the lyrics of their iconic theme song. In addition to her duties for the show, Marie had schoolwork to contend with as she was only 16 years old when the program first aired.
Donny & Marie had many guest stars, including comedian Paul Lynde, Kris Kristofferson and Andy Gibb. Most of all, the show featured much of the Osmond family, from younger brother Jimmy to the original members of the Osmond Brothers—Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay. After its first season, the show moved its production to a studio facility the family had built in Orem, Utah.
Despite their fame, both Donny and Marie remained devoted to their family and true to their Mormon faith. As their religion prohibits alcohol, coffee, tea and premarital sex, the Osmonds were known to change the lyrics of songs rather than to compromise their beliefs. Following her parents' rules, Marie was not allowed to go on a date alone with a guy until she was 18. At that age, she was already thinking ahead to marriage, telling People magazine: "I'm not in any rush, but by the time I'm 21 I'll probably want to get serious. Showbiz isn't for eternity. Marriage is."
By the end of the 1970s, television audiences had tired of the squeaky clean brother-sister act and their renditions of older, more family-friendly songs. Disco and more urban style music was all the rage, making the Osmonds seem completely out of step with the times. The show—then known as The Osmond Family Hour—left the air in May 1979.
Her show may have been cancelled, but Osmond continued to enjoy some success on television. She had her own limited-run variety show, Marie, from 1980-81 and then made a series of television movies. In 1979, Osmond starred with James Woods and Timothy Bottoms in The Gift of Love. She went on to play her own mother, Olive, in 1982's Side by Side: The Story of the Osmond Family. Then in 1985, Osmond served as co-host for Ripley's Believe It or Not.
Reviving her country music career, Osmond scored several hits in the 1980s. She reached the top of the country charts twice in 1985 with "There's No Stopping Your Heart" and "Meet Me in Montana"—a duet with Dan Seals. The next year, her duet with Paul Davis, "You're Still New to Me," also reached the No. 1 spot.
Even with sustained commercial success, Osmond was experiencing significant transitions in her personal life. She divorced her first husband, actor Stephen Craig, in 1985. The couple had one child together, a son named Stephen. In 1986, Osmond married music producer Brian Blosil. Osmond and Blosil would eventually have a family of eight children with her son Stephen, two biological children and five children they adopted together.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Osmond toured with a special Christmas show that featured some of her children. She also embraced musicals. Playing Maria, Osmond starred in a 1994-1995 touring production of The Sound of Music. She then made her Broadway debut in 1997 as Anna in Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I. Reuniting with brother Donny, Osmond co-hosted a syndicated daytime talk show in 1998, which lasted two seasons. That same year, Osmond and her husband announced that they were divorcing, but they later reconciled.
In 2001, Osmond received media attention for her candid memoir Behind the Smile: My Journey Out of Postpartum Depression. She shared the emotional and psychological difficulties she faced after the birth of her son Matthew. Two years later, Osmond and the rest of her family received a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.
Osmond has more recently appeared on reality television shows. She was a judge on Celebrity Duets in 2006. She also made headlines that same year for what was initially reported as a suicide attempt. According to her representative, however, Osmond was hospitalized for a bad reaction to a medication, not for attempting suicide. She spent several days in an Orem, Utah, hospital before being released.
In 2007, Osmond and her husband announced their separation. That same year, she went on to become one of the finalists in the wildly popular celebrity competition Dancing With the Stars (season 5). During taping, Osmond experienced many physical and emotional hardships, passing out on one episode of the show following her performance.
Two weeks later, Osmond lost her father, George, who died at his home in Utah while she was in California. She was still mourning the death of her father when she publicly acknowledged that her son, Michael, was in rehab for substance abuse problems. Tragically, in February 2010, Osmond's son Michael committed suicide by jumping from the eighth floor of his Los Angeles apartment. At the time of her son's death, Osmond and her brother Donny were performing at the Flamingo Resort in Las Vegas. (She and Donny had shared host duties for the Miss USA pageant and America's Favorite Mom just before their Las Vegas show premiered.)
New Directions and Charity Work
Despite experiencing deep personal tragedy, Osmond has strived to overcome her grief. In May 2011, at age 51, she remarried ex-husband Stephen Craig. Osmond has also continued to perform with her big brother.
In addition to her entertainment career, Osmond has been active in business pursuits as well as charitable works. She's behind the line Marie Osmond Fine Porcelain Collector Dolls, which she started in 1991. She also launched a line of crafting products called Crafting With Marie. Additionally, she has found time to help others, co-founding the Children's Miracle Network in 1983, an organization that supports children's hospitals in North America.
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