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Donny And Marie: '70s TV's Country And Rock 'n Roll Siblings

Icons | September 30, 2018

Left: Marie and Donny Osmond performing circa 1980. (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns). Right: Advertisement for Donny and Marie dolls by Mattel. Source: Pinterest.

Signaling the last hurrah for TV variety shows, The Donny & Marie Show aired from 1976 to 1979, featuring siblings Donny Osmond and Marie Osmond, with frequent contributions from other members of the Osmond brood. Coming out of Ogden, Utah, the Osmonds were a musically gifted Mormon family who found success as a male vocal group, first a barbershop quartet of the four oldest brothers, then a larger (still all-male) ensemble, finally coalescing around the most commercially successful arrangement of Donny & Marie.

The Osmond Brothers began a journey to share their musical talent with the world and it continued through Donny and Marie. As brother and sister went on to share more than just musical ability with us, they have brought us years of enjoyment.

Marie Osmond's Path To Fame

Source: Amazon.com

Being the only girl in the family with eight brothers could have been problematic for Marie Osmond, but she proved that she could hold her own. Her two oldest brothers were deaf, but the remaining five brothers before her were in the family music business. Her younger brother, Jimmy, who was born after her, joined them. While the Osmonds were making their way as performers in the 1960s, Marie was not in the music business. She finally entered that world as a solo artist, at the age of 14, and released her first single in 1973 called “Paper Roses,” which was actually more of a country song. Her brothers were into soft rock so she contrasted them by gearing her music more to a country music fan base. In 1974, she released another single called “In My Little Corner of the World” and, in 1975, released “Who’s Sorry Now.”  

How The Osmonds Came To Be

The Osmond Brothers

Alan (9 years old), Wayne (7 years old), Merrill (5 years old), and Jay (3 years old) formed a barbershop quartet to start with to help raise money for hearing aids for their brothers who were deaf and also for missions for their church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They would play locally in the area where they lived. Their father saw the potential in them and took them for an audition for Lawrence Welk in California, but because he could not meet with them, they ended up going to Disneyland, where the Director of Entertainment came across them singing on Main Street with The Dapper Dans. They were hired on the spot for “Disneyland After Dark.”  

TV Exposure And Hits

The Osmonds on the Andy Williams Show in 1964

Andy Williams’ father saw the brothers on Disney After Dark and was highly impressed, so he told his son to put them on his show. After that, they became regulars from 1962 to 1969. Donny was only three years old when he joined his brothers on The Andy Williams Show. A couple of years later, Marie also joined the show with Jimmy joining not long after that. When the brothers decided they wanted to leave the variety show image and become a rock band, their father wasn’t really happy about it but eventually consented. They went from playing pop music to playing rock music. One of the hits made popular by the group was “One Bad Apple,” which had originally been written for the Jackson Five, who turned it down. Another popular hit they did together was “Down by the Lazy River.”  

Donny And Marie, The Entertainers

Donny and Marie

As Marie and Donny became more popular, the brothers backed out of the spotlight. Donny Osmond was just two years older than Marie and was considered a teen idol. All the young girls swooned after him, leaving his brothers in the dust. In the early 1970s, he went solo with several top hits like “Puppy Love” “Go Away Little Girl,” and “The Twelfth Of Never.” He and Marie Osmond became a dynamic duo together hosting the Donny and Marie Show (also known as Donny And Marie) from 1976-79, as well as their own talk show 20 years later. They had a special charm that could entertain the young people as well as older fans. Whenever you would see them, they always had a big smile on their face and showing those pearly whites. They must have had a really good dentist.  

Marie Osmond, Post-Music

Marie Osmond in 1980s

Her last county album, “Steppin’ Stone,” was completed during this era (1988) due to the changing culture of country music. By 1991, her music career as a recording artist of any importance ended. She only recorded a few more singles in later years. During this time, she married a basketball player in 1982 and had one son and later divorced in 1985. In 1986, she married Brian Blosil and they had two children together and adopted five more children. They remained together until 2007. Four years later, she remarried her first husband, Stephen Craig wearing the same dress she wore the first time. Wow! How was she able to maintain her figure? She needs to share her secret.

Donny Osmond's Later Career

An Older Donny Osmond

Donny married Debra Glenn in 1978 at the age of 20. He became not only a father but like his parents, he and his wife created a large family. Together they have five children (all boys) and ten grandchildren. In 2009, he and a partner participated in Dancing with the Stars to try to prove he was a better dancer than his sister. During the finals week, he and his partner danced the Cha-Cha as well as two other dances and won the competition. He has been a guest judge on the show a few times after that.

Donny And Marie Today

Donny and Marie in Las Vegas in 2011.

The dynamic duo of Donny and Marie still get together to perform; they've done vegas and Broadway. Donny is in his early 60s and Marie her late 50s. Separately, they have done big stage musicals, particularly in the 1990s, with Donny doing over 2,000 performances of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

The Osmonds brought us entertainment like no other group has – lots of fun through their music and their lives using not only their musical talent but also using humor and their acting abilities as well. 

Tags: Donny And Marie | Donny Osmond | Marie Osmond | Variety Shows | What Did They Do?... | The Osmonds

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Terry Claypoole

Writer

Terry is a lover of the beach, history, politics and has a passion for social media and technology. In her spare time, you can find her at the beach (of course) enjoying the sand and sun and listening to music from the groovy era.