The Washington Post, August 1975:
Marie, 15, has made three albums and had one hit, "Paper Roses." She loves to entertain.
"At 7 they used me a little as a novelty," she said, looking back over her career. "Then I went through a period from 9 to 12 when I was very heavy, obese, when I didn't sing.
"But when I was 13, I saw all my brothers working and my little brother (Jimmy) working, and I said, 'Marie, what are you doing with yourself?'"
Ah, Marie, Marie. Such a short time ago you were just the gawky kid, dressed up in false eyelashes at age 13, tagging around after your brothers trying to get a piece of the spotlight. So much has happened. Now you are in the spotlight, and those big brothers, once known around the world simply as The Osmonds, are slightly paunchy and moving farther offstage, leaving the spotlight to you.
And to brother Donny, of course, Donny and Marie, that's the main act today. Television, movies, records, and now, the Kennedy Center - there's nothing you haven't ventured. As you said yesterday, Marie, you have to keep accepting new "challenges."
"I can't believe I'm almost 20," you said, opening your eyes wide. "Twenty is not that old, but all of a sudden you realize you're moving on to 20, where you always thought you might be someday."
Almost Twenty! And here your older brothers have been in "the business" (show, that is) for almost 20 years themselves. And Alan, the oldest of the singing Osmonds, is only just 30.
Have jou nudged them offstage?
You look confused, as though you don't understand the question. This doesn't often happen with the Osmonds, who, according to Ron Clark, their press aide, do at least half a dozen interviews a week and turn down requests for a dozen more. They always answer question promptly, cheerfully, pleasantly, because that is how they are. But sometimes the answers don't quite fit the questions.
For example: "Marie, do you feel you have aced your older brothers out of the spotlight?" Answer: "No, not at all, I love working with my family."
The question is clarified. No, she says, she has not replaced her brothers in the act, they have been developing their talents as producers, directors and in the other technical aspects of television and recording. "It's nice because that's an area they can work at till they die."
Donny is 21. The sub-teen frenzy that propelled him as a 14-year-old to the top of the teen idol ladder has changed. Let's face it, the bloom is off the rose. The kid is 21, he shaves, he's married and he's about to become a father. "They don't throw themselves at our automobiles anymore," said Clark.
But by no means, he said, has the bottom fallen out of the Osmonds market. The audiences have just gotten older. Or, as Marie put it, "the demographics are really wild."
This allows the group to play week-long engagements, as they have been for the past five weeks, instead of one-night stands in coliseums. "Our security isn't as difficult as it used to be," Clark said.
The Osmonds have endured where others who flamed brightly in the pantheon of bubble-gum teen idols were snuffed out. Combining the beat and loudness of rock without the decadence, the Osmonds moved quickly into the mainstream of pop culture and have maintained their niche, growing older with their audiences and multiplying their corporate finances in the great American way.
One section of the show is called "Memories." In it the five brothers recall (on their knees, to re-create their height of yore) their years as harmonizers on the Andy Williams Show, their first pop hits like "Puppy Love," "Go Away Little Girl" and so forth.
Now, Donny and Marie star in a weekly variety show which is produced very profitably by the family, and Donny and Marie have individual albums in the works. Everything is produced in a multi-million-dollar complex at the family's home in Orem, Utah. Thus the Mormon family can move into "other areas of the entertainment industry without compromising family unity."
Being promoters of the family oriented, Mormon lifestyle, which forbids alcohol, drugs, premarital sex and other decadence, Donny and Marie have had to contend with such indignities as being asked on national television by Barbara Walters if they are virgins.
"We knew she was going to ask that," said Marie. "What are you going to write about this? It's nobody's business." Pause. "I'm the way I am. I'm proud of it."
Most of the Osmonds have gotten married young and immediately started producing children. Donny says marriage is "terrific." Why, he is asked.
"What do you mean 'why'?"
"What is it about marriage that is terrific?"
"Well, it's betterr than I thought it would be. My wife is the sweetest person in the world. She treats me royally and I try to do the same . . . Before you get married you hear about problems and having to make sacrifices and stuff like that. But if you learn to do that you have such a beautiful relationship.
He is asked how he and his wife solve problems. Again, there is an answer that doesn't seem to go with the question. It's the answer to another question, the one about how he and his brother solve their problems.
"When we disagree we don't fight about it, we discuss things out. Sometimes we take votes in a democratic fashion."
You and your wife?
"Oh, as far as my wife is concerned . . . she respects the fact that I am the patriarch of our home. She knows the final say-so is mine. But I don't use that authority loosely."
Men, he said, should realize that sometimes a wife has a better idea than the husband does. Men should respect their wife's opinions.
In the current batch of press releases that were handed out yesterday, the wives are not mentioned by name. The brothers and Marie refer to them collectively as "the wives."
The Mormons recently have sponsored a series of radio public service announcements about marriage. This piece of information has nothing to do with the Osmonds. One, to the tune of a peppy jingle, starts "Marriage is no big thing - it's a lot of little ones . . . Bake a surprise, bat your eyes, hold his hand . . . Rub his back, make her a snack and understand . . . Help her clean, don't be mean, kiss on the phone . . ."
Marie recently came close to the Lot of Little Things. It was to be in August. But she called a halt to her engagement to a 23-year-old actor.
"My (wedding) dress has stopped being made," she said yesterday . . . "We still care a great deal about each other. Time will tell." They are both young, she said, and if you're not completely sure of each other you should call it off before it's too late. But, she believes firmly, "my time will come."
You can have both a marriage and a career, she said.
"You have to build yourself while you're single," she said, "while you can still be selfish with your time. Go to school and learn. There's nothing wrong with developing your talents as a woman. But family life is where you get your rewards. You may not get a paycheck every week, but at the end of 30 years you have a nice family - if you work hard at raising them right."
Marie is developing herself by attending classes at Brigham Young University in art and fashion merchandising. She wrote some of the songs on her next album, and has a book about inner and outer beauty coming out this fall, although she can't remember the title of it.
"A lot of people say I went from a bottle to make-up," she laughed. But then, turning serious, she added, "Too many girls base everything on how they look. When it comes down to it, the face leaves you after awhile. It's how you get along with other people that's important. That's all there are, people - to get along with. And if you don't like yourself, how can you get along with someone else?"
From a letter to the Washington Post in 1974
"I am 14 and have been a Donny Osmond fan for three years and I'll be one in another three years too . . . Donny's number 1 and will be for years to come . . . I went to an Osmond concert in November of 1973. Sold out! Fans (13 or over) screaming, dreaming, and trying to get to them in any way possible. They were selling posters - all sold out, I got the last one! They were selling Donny Osmond patches and pennants, I wanted one but, All Sold Out. So, there it is, the truth about who's tops . . .
Donny's Number 1 Truthful Fan," CAPTION: Picture 1, Donny and Marie in 1972 courtesy Tiger Beat Magazine; Picture 2, in rehearsal yesterday, by Margaret Thomas - The Washington Post; Picture 3, Marie Osmond; Picture 4, From left, Merrill, Wayne and Jay Osmond; photos by Margaret Thomas - The Washington Post