Also Credited As:Olive Marie Osmond
|Olive Marie Osmond on October 13, 1959 in Ogden, Utah, USA|
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Baby Olive Marie Osmond was born in Ogden, UT on Oct. 13, 1959 to traditional Mormon parents George and Olive Osmond. Seven brothers awaited her arrival, four of whom had already started making a name for themselves as singers and paving the way for her own future superstardom. When Marie was only three years old, The Osmonds (Wayne, Alan, Merrill, and Jay) were performing on "The Andy Williams Show" and little Marie was plunked on Andy's lap and jokingly introduced as "the newest Osmond brother," thus making her show business debut. Throughout the '60s, The Osmonds (eventually including youngest brother Donny) had gained steady exposure through TV guest appearances and some European touring, but in 1971 the single "One Bad Apple" would turn them into pop sensations overnight when it e hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Young Marie made some live appearances with The Osmonds, convincing their management she should visit the recording studio as well. In 1973, her first single "Paper Roses" made her the youngest female ever to hit number one on the Billboard country music charts. She made solo appearances and stayed busy in the studio, completing an album of the same name and following it up with two more albums. Meanwhile, Donny had spun off from his brothers into a solo act and bona fide teen heartthrob status. Producers paired the two sensational siblings together and recorded the albums I'm Leaving It All Up to You and Make the World Go Away in 1974 and 1975. Donny and Marie had smash hits with "Deep Purple" and "Make the World Go Away," popular standards from their parents' day that cemented the Osmond image as squeaky-clean, wholesome entertainment. By this time, the Osmonds had a near record-store monopoly with the "O" record bins in Pop, Country, and R&B sections stuffed with The Osmonds, Donny Osmond, Marie Osmond, and now Donny & Marie Osmond records.
In 1976, ABC offered the duo their own primetime variety show after receiving an overwhelming response to a stint guest-hosting "The Mike Douglas Show" (CBS, 1961-1982). "Donny & Marie"(ABC, 1976-79) was originally developed by psychedelic kids' show masterminds Sid and Marty Krofft of "HR Pufnstuf," (NBC, 1969-1971) fame, but the Osmond family eventually won creative control of the show and relocated the production away from the dangers of Hollywood to the safe confines of Orem, UT. The show's format was similar to other variety shows of the time, with light comedy skits, painfully scripted banter between acts, and for some inexplicable reason, figure skating. The show's most memorable feature was a medley which invariably opened with the duet, "I'm a little bit country/I'm a little bit rock and roll," before launching into songs that were actually neither. Each Friday night ended with a flood of balloons and blessing from the couple to their loyal audience, who at this point were buying millions of dollars worth of records, dolls, lunchboxes, and other Donny & Marie branded items. Despite efforts to update the show and give it a disco injection, ratings dove in 1978 partly because brother Donny had a serious girlfriend, future wife Debbie Glenn, and was "off the market." The show morphed into "The Osmonds," then simply "Marie," and by 1982 there was not an Osmond-oriented program anywhere on the fall lineup.
Osmond tried to segue into further acting work but became most well-known around Hollywood for turning down the lead in the film version of "Grease," (1978) due to moral objections over Sandy's character "going bad." Besides her role in the short-lived sitcom "Maybe This Time" (ABC, 1995-96), Marie's screen acting was mainly relegated to TV movies like "I Married Wyatt Earp" (NBC, 1983) and "Side by Side: The True Story of the Osmond Family" (NBC, 1982) in which she portrayed her mother, Olive. Like brother Donny, who enjoyed huge success with "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and other theatrical productions, Marie's acting career fared better in the music theater arena. She was well-known for appearing in various holiday extravaganzas, but also toured as the lead in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The Sound of Music" in 1994 and 1995. The following year she debuted on Broadway playing Anna in "The King and I," hitting the road with the production in 1998. This natural born singer picked up her recording career again in the mid-1980s when she signed with Curb records, whose founder Mike Curb had helped turn her brothers into a major teenybopper craze in the 1970s. Right away, she hit number one with the Dan Seals' duet "Meet Me In Montana," and followed it up with "There's No Stopping Your Heart." In 1986 she scored a top fiver with "Read My Lips" and the number one "You're Still New to Me," sung with Paul Davis. She fared well with 1987's "I Only Wanted You." The 1990 album Like a Hurricane was the last to dent the charts but Osmond always had an audience wherever she went, and continued to tour as time permitted throughout her career.
In 1998, she and Donny reunited for a new version of "The Donny & Marie Show" (syndicated, 1998-2000), this one a talk and entertainment format with celebrity and non-celebrity guests. For the first time, the engaging chemistry between the siblings was able to shine through, and audiences were given a chance to meet the real Donny and Marie behind the canned jokes from years earlier. This was also TV in the post-Oprah world, so some soul-bearing was to be expected. Donny disclosed that he suffered from Anxiety Disorder and panic attacks, but audiences were stunned to hear confessions from his sister, who so many had revered as perky, perfect, and unshakable. She came forward about childhood sexual abuse, and shared that, as a 16-year-old TV show host, producers criticized her for weighing a scant 105 pounds, causing her plunge into eating disorders for years. Osmond was also very open about her experience with postpartum depression, being the mother to eight children, five of whom were adopted. In 2001, she published Behind the Smile: My Journey Out Of Postpartum Depression, in which she recounted how her depression had been so severe, that at one point she left her family with no intention of returning. In 2006, Marie publicly voiced support for Brooke Shields after she came forward to share a similar story and was criticized by actor Tom Cruise for treating the illness with anti-depressants, via his Scientology beliefs that the only true cure was through vitamins.
Osmond also developed into a savvy entrepreneur over the years. She had a knack for launching ventures inspired by some part of her lifestyle or image, and enjoyed huge audience response. She published Marie Osmond's Mother and Baby Exercise Book, and an exercise video for moms-to-be. Butterick released a line of Marie Osmond clothing patterns, and sewing machine manufacturer Bernina launched Marie Osmond signature model sewing and embroidery machines. The ever-faithful and charitable Osmond also raised billions of dollars for children's hospitals through The Children's Miracle Network, a charitable organization she founded with actor John Schneider. Her biggest business, however, made her a familiar face on the QVC shopping channel, where she regularly presented her Marie Osmond Fine Porcelain Collector Dolls. Marie was an avid doll collector since she was a young girl, when mother and daughter would enjoy a break from the hectic world travel (and the all-male family) by hunting for wonderful doll treasures together. In 1990, she was approached by doll manufacturer L.L. Knickerbocker to design and market a line of her own. Marie jumped at the offer, insisting that she contribute to every aspect of the production, rather than just be a celebrity endorsee. She even learned to sculpt, enabling her to create dolls of her own design. The dolls were a runaway success, quickly becoming QVC's top-selling line and selling over 1 million units in six years. Osmond eventually purchased the parent company with plans to expand into other retail areas.
Osmond brought her singing background to the small screen in late 2006 when she became a judge on the popular reality talent competition "Singing with the Stars" (Fox, 2006). But unlike many fading star reality show participants, she was not there to pay the mortgage. With half a dozen business ventures and sold-out show dates wherever she performed, she could be anywhere she wanted. And wherever she was, she would be smiling that million-dollar Osmond grin. The singer-actress-TV host continued her run on reality talent competitions by signing on as hoofer-in-training on the fifth season of "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ). Ever the trooper, her inclusion on the popular show came only months after her April split from husband Brian Blosil was announced, following 20 years of marriage. In fact, Osmond gave better drama than she did dance. During the show, the ever bubbly Osmond's father died, she fainted on live television after an especially spirited dance with partner, Jonathan Roberts, and she weathered the news that one of her sons entered rehab, all while training each week for the latest dance. Osmond proved so popular with viewers that she lasted far longer in the competition than anyone expected, besting Jennie Garth to end up in the semi-finals. Despite her spirited efforts to get fans to call in for her, she was voted off in the finale, leaving Mel B and Helio Castroneves to battle it out for the win.
Although her stint on "Dancing with the Stars" may not have won Osmond the grand prize, it did reinvigorate her profile considerably. She and her brother launched "The Donny & Marie Show" in 2008, a live musical-variety production staged at the Las Vegas Flamingo. Just as the performer's career was reaching new heights, tragedy struck the Osmond household in February 2010 when Osmond's long-troubled son Michael - who had entered a rehab facility during her time on "Dancing with the Stars" - committed suicide in downtown Los Angeles by jumping from the eighth floor of his apartment building. Despite speculation to the contrary, autopsy reports later revealed that no drugs had been in Michael's system at the time of his death. In the days and months that followed, his devastated mother and family attempted to come to terms with the loss. After a lengthy period of reflection and mourning, which included a temporary shut-down of the Las Vegas act, Osmond returned to work with gusto. In December 2010, Osmond shared a Broadway stage with her brother for the first time in "Donny & Marie - A Broadway Christmas," a holiday-themed musical-variety show that extended its initial limited run into the New Year by popular demand. As with her recent career resurgence, everything that was old was new again for Osmond when she remarried ex-husband Steve Craig in Las Vegas in the spring of 2011, wearing the same dress she had donned for the occasion nearly 30 years earlier. Donny and Marie's contract at the Flamingo was extended for several more years and the siblings were voted "Best Performers of Las Vegas" in 2012. Osmond also returned to the television when her long gestating talk show emerged as "Marie" (Hallmark, 2012- ), a program on which Osmond channeled her own life experience in segments with celebrity and non-celebrity guests alike, aimed at empowering people in their daily lives.