March 4, 2008 / 8:51 PM / 10 years ago

Donny Osmond reclaims fame

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Donny Osmond has defied the odds of many child stars whose careers went from red-hot to has-been before age 21, and now he seems as popular as ever with a new movie and a co-hosting job on a celebrity TV show.

Entertainer Donny Osmond poses for a photograph in New York February 27, 2008. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

The singer told Reuters he also has plans for a Las Vegas show with sister Marie Osmond later this year. When he appeared on the red carpet at last week’s Oscars with his wife of 30 years, Debbie, his fans went crazy.

Most are now middle-aged women who grew up swooning when a teenage Osmond sang hits like “Puppy Love,” but Osmond, who turned 50 years-old in December, seems as youthful as ever with a boyish enthusiasm for all things showbiz.

So, what’s his secret?

“Lots of plastic surgery!” he joked to Reuters. “No, it’s a mystery to me. But I think it’s good to be versatile nowadays and have a TV presence. I’m busier than ever, and I love it.”

Osmond’s new movie, “College Road Trip” debuts in theaters on Friday with Donny in a supporting role opposite comedian Martin Lawrence. Osmond plays a nerdy father of a high school girl who has befriended the Lawrence character’s daughter.

Osmond also recently began co-hosting “The Insider,” a U.S. television show that features entertainment news and interviews with film, TV and music stars.

More than four decades have passed since Donny and his four Osmond brothers began singing and dancing as a squeaky clean, All-American family act on “The Andy Williams Show.” Three decades have gone by since he and his sister had their smash hit TV variety show, “Donny and Marie.”

In the years since, Donny has been a Broadway star and game show host. Some efforts failed; others succeeded. But he has never stopped performing.


Osmond landed the “Insider” job after a strong reception as a reporter for U.S. celebrity TV show, “Entertainment Tonight,” in late 2007 when Marie appeared on “Dancing with the Stars.”

On “Insider,” he is a substitute for co-host Pat O’Brien who checked into a rehab facility in February.

He called his “College Road Trip” job an “unanticipated fluke” after performing on a music video, “White and Nerdy,” with Weird Al Yankovic. Osmond said the director of “College Road Trip” called him about the role of the geeky dad.

Osmond said he was initially nervous on the set because he is not an actor. But “when everyone began laughing at my dorky character, I thought, “Maybe this’ll work!” Osmond said.

“My whole life I’ve been known as ‘Mr. White Bread,’ so if the shoe fits, I say ‘Wear it,”‘ he added.

He filmed his role in a two-week window between other jobs and admitted that “Yes, I can be a workaholic. But I try to balance it with a normal family life.”

The father of five boys still lives in the state in which he was raised, Utah, and he recently became a grandfather — “again,” he laughs. But he keeps his family life private.

“I’ve seen way too many people in show business destroy their personal lives — their marriage, their children — because they get so wrapped up in their careers. And that’s something I have to balance out all the time,” he said.

Yet, he seems more driven than ever to succeed in all areas of show business. Later this year, he said he expects to begin a yet-to-be-announced Las Vegas show with Marie.

“Thirty years after we last did a long-term show there,” Osmond said with a gleaming white smile. “You know there’s going to be that competition of one-upping each other.”

Entertainer Donny Osmond poses for a photograph in New York February 27, 2008. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Editing by Philip Barbara

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