Donny is one of 9 children born to George and Olive Osmond in Ogden Utah. The family included 8 sons and only one daughter, his equally famous sister, Marie. The entire Osmond family has had a long and varied career, which had a humble beginning singing barbershop harmony on Main Street Disneyland. Soon thereafter, Donny and his siblings became very successful teen idols worldwide.
This entire journey began for Donny at the early age of 5 when he made his first television appearance with his brothers on the Andy Williams Show. Andy enjoyed the brothers so much that they became regulars on the show displaying various talents of singing, dancing, ice skating, or whatever they were asked to do. During breaks from the show he began touring with his family all over the US, Europe, and Asia. And, he hasn't stopped, yet.
It was in the early 70s, when Donny was just a teenager, that he and his brothers became a genuine entertainment phenomenon. The Osmond Brothers, as the group was known, released hit after hit and toured the world. Donny's debut single, "Sweet & Innocent", became his first Top 10 hit at the age of 14. He later went on to release million-selling hits like "Go Away Little Girl", "Puppy Love" and "Too Young". Together with his brothers, The Osmond Brothers took the United Kingdom by storm, which became affectionately known as "Osmondmania" --- fan riots and hysteria matched that of The Beatles. Donny's "Puppy Love" gave him his first number 1 hit in the UK, and was a multimillion-selling smash hit single worldwide.
Donny began a series of duets with his sister Marie, which included more Top 10 hits like "I'm Leaving It All Up To You" and "Morning Side of the Mountain". The two went on to host one of the most successful television variety shows ever, the "Donny & Marie Show". Donny and Marie are listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest prime time television hosts ever. They also received a People's Choice Award.
During the 80s, Donny struggled against his lingering teeny bopper image; an image so unfashionable that even his closest friends advised him to change his name. He then met English rocker Peter Gabriel; it was under Gabriel's tutelage that a rugged, edgier Donny Osmond emerged from near-obscurity with the hit "Soldier of Love" written and produced by the highly successful team of Sturken and Rogers (Rihanna, Christina Aguilera). The single went all the way to the top of the Billboard charts and garnered Donny Billboard Magazine's "Top Pop Male Artist of the Year". Most critics agreed that his attempts at mainstream rock were much more impressive than anyone had imagined. Donny continued to prove his versatility with hits like "My Love Is A Fire" and "Sacred Emotion", which became a top 5 hit on VH1.
One of Donny's greatest achievements occurred in the early 90s when he played the title role in the North American production of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." Following a six-year commitment encompassing more than 2,000 performances, Donny retired his colored coat; again achieving great success and recognition for his performance.
When the 2002 Olympics occurred in Donny's backyard -- Utah -- he, Marie and their father, George Osmond, participated in the official Olympic Torch Relay. Additionally, Donny & Marie were invited to perform in the Closing Ceremonies.
In 2005, Donny co-wrote and recorded "What I Meant To Say," and it may be, for him, the most satisfying album yet. Not only did the album hit the charts immediately following its release in the United Kingdom, each song gave Donny some of the most rewarding creative experiences in his long and remarkable career. The title track, "What I Meant To Say," reveals the depth of intimacy and affection that each song on the album expresses.
One of the songs he wrote took on special significance upon the passing of his mother. According to Donny: "It occurred to me after I wrote ["Whenever You're In Trouble"] that this song is everything she told us. She was always there for us - a shoulder to cry on, just an incredibly loving person -- the perfect mother. She made each of us nine kids feels like she was our special protector and that each one of us was 'her favorite.' So although it was inspired by an experience with my third son, Brandon, the concept of 'Whenever You're In Trouble' really comes from her. It's almost as if she wrote it through me, to my children."
Donny collaborated with several different writers but the strongest creative influence was probably his own experience. For that very reason, "What I Meant To Say" is everything Donny wanted to say throughout the years.
Donny had performed on Broadway prior to 2006 in George M. Cohan's "Little Johnny Jones," but his stay was short-lived. All that changed when Donny was invited by Disney to star in the Broadway production of "Beauty and The Beast." Playing the role of the villainous Gaston was a change for Donny, who said it was an opportunity for his "mischievous side to shine." After his 12-week run ended, he was asked to return in July 2008 for the final performance as it closed its doors.
As if performing 6 shows per week on Broadway wasn't enough work, during his run in "Beauty and The Beast," Donny produced his next album. Since there wasn't a recording studio nearby, he soundproofed a portion of his dressing room in order to record the vocals for "Love Songs of the 70s," a mix of different love songs made popular by various artists. Some of the songs included in this collection are: "Laughter in the Rain," "Oh, Girl," "If," "Let's Stay Together," "How Deep Is Your Love," and "You Are So Beautiful." For Donny, these are songs he considers priceless and timeless; he loves listening to these songs, and especially enjoys singing them.
In 2007 Donny hosted two television series on British network television, "Identity" and "Pyramid", was the special correspondent for "Entertainment Tonight" covering "Dancing with the Stars," and performed at "The Concert for Diana," which was seen worldwide by 2 billion viewers. Also during this year, Donny completed his 55th CD entitled, From Donny... with love, a compilation album of his favorite love songs.
2008 was a milestone year for the entire Osmond family, particularly Donny's brothers: Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay - The Osmond Brothers --- it marked their 50th anniversary as performers. To commemorate it, the family gathered for a concert which was videotaped and broadcast nationally on PBS as a pledge drive special. Following the concert, the seven performing Osmonds went on a month long tour through the UK, Australia and Asia. It was the first time in 27 years all performing Osmonds were on one stage and also marked the final world tour for the Osmond family as an entire group.
More recently, Donny performed at the Las Vegas Flamingo Hotel with his sister, Marie. The show began back in September 2008 and was originally scheduled to run for 6 months. However, the response was so overwhelming that the Flamingo immediately asked for a two year extension. The Donny & Marie Show continued all the way into 2010!
Donny has sold over 80 million records over five decades, and has received 33 gold records, 18 of them before the age of 13. His album, Somewhere In Time, released in 2002, went platinum in only 8 days -- a first for the music veteran, and he toured the United Kingdom a year later. The tour was a success, and Donny Osmond: LIVE quickly climbed to the top of the UK charts, becoming one of the best selling DVDs of the year.
Donny has generated millions of dollars over the years for several charitable organizations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Best Buddies, The Children's Miracle Network, and The One Heart Foundation. Donny is the author of The New York Times bestselling book Life Is What You Make It, in which he revealed his battle with social phobia, a common but debilitating anxiety disorder that threatened not only his career, but his very life as well. He narrated the PBS documentary "Afraid of People", bringing this little known phobia to the public's attention.
It has been said that the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and tribulation. Donny Osmond has stood at the highest peaks of success any man could hope to attain in a lifetime. But, all of these successes stem from his upbringing. His parents, George and Olive Osmond, taught their children to work hard and aim high to realize their greatest ambitions.
For more information about Donny Osmond visit www.donny.com.
For additional information about this performance or other performances within the 2010-2011 Luhrs Center series, call the Luhrs Center Box Office at 717.477.SHOW (7469) or visit the Luhrs Center website at www.luhrscenter.com. The Luhrs Center 2011-2012 series lineup will be announced in early July and tickets to the series will go on sale to the public on Saturday, July 23 at 11 a.m.