The untold story of the Osmond family

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SALT LAKE CITY — 54 years in show business has made the Osmond family an international success story with plenty of good times — and a lot of challenges — along the way.

Four boys singing barbershop quartet started something no one could have imagined. How they succeeded is not a story they often share, but they did with Arts Specialist Carole Mikita.

After more than 50 years and more than 100-million records sold, the television and concert successes, the Osmonds are still going strong. But they began performing to raise money to help their two older brothers, Virl and Tom, who were born deaf. They credit their parents' faith and courage.

"They didn't have to have any more children after Virl and Tom because the doctor said not to have any more kids, because they're both deaf, but they did," Merill Osmond said. "And look what came from that."

I went to my dad and I said, 'Dad, I'm No. 1! Isn't that cool?! It's double platinum!' and Dad gave me a stick with a poker on it and he said 'Go clean up the trash.'

–Jimmy Osmond

Virl and Tom gave support to their performing siblings and then the four brothers, Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay included Donny, Marie and Jimmy and, at times, stepped back to produce or perform as backup musicians as the younger ones took the spotlight.

"It hasn't been a lot of fun," Jay Osmond said. "It's been exciting sometimes and it's been fulfilling at times, but more for me, it's been a lot of work and a lot of pressure."

Their faith as Latter-day Saints, he says, has brought them through.

"We have never done a show where we haven't had first a word of prayer before we've gone out," Jay said.

Jimmy Osmond produced one of Michael Jackson's Asian tours. Michael wondered about this family.

"We had some really wonderful chats and he said, ‘How do you keep your family together?' They're a great family but at the time he was struggling to find out what he wanted to do with his life," Jimmy recalls. "It was so cool to talk about those things that mean the most to us and that's what kept us together."


Jimmy calls show business "The Business of Show". He says their father understood how fleeting it could be.

"I went to my dad and I said, ‘Dad, I'm No.1! Isn't that cool?! It's double platinum!' and Dad gave me a stick with a poker on it and he said ‘Go clean up the trash.'"

Jimmy has also produced a documentary to the family, particularly the original Osmond brothers. "It talks about the fact that my brothers were so selfless, so giving in caring about each other. I think it's a wonderful story that's never really been told."

The Osmonds have a new album coming out in September titled " I Can't Get There Without You". All seven siblings perform on it — including Donny and Marie — and they also pay tribute to their older brothers, Virl and Tom.


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