Marie Osmond has been in the public eye since her debut on “The Andy Williams Show” at age 4, back in February 1964. But, for a pop culture icon, she’s refreshingly down to earth.
“What you do in the walls of your home are the most important things you can do in this life,” she says, dismissing her celebrity status as something “no one will remember.”
Born Olive Marie Osmond in 1959 in Ogden, Utah, she was the eighth of nine kids, and the only daughter, born to Olive and George Osmond. She was just 12 ½ when she recorded “Paper Roses.” Her album of the same name hit No. 1 on the Billboard Country Music Charts when she was not quite 14. She’s probably best known for co-hosting the variety TV show “Donny & Marie” with her brother from 1976 to 1979 on ABC, though she says younger fans have been shocked to learn she can sing, since they think of her as “the Nutrisystem lady.”
Now the three-time Grammy nominee, bestselling author, actor and philanthropist will perform with her nephew, David Osmond, at the PPAC on Dec. 22. We chatted with her about the show, “A Symphonic Christmas with Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra,” her favorite things, and whether she and Donny will ever perform together again.
Q: So why a Christmas show?
Osmond: Good question. I wasn’t going to tour this year. I’ve worked six decades. I thought I was lucky to have a five-year career; I’ve worked every year of my life for 60 years.
But something inside me — I go by my gut — was like, people need to be happy. This [pandemic-era] isolation has caused more issues with anxieties and depressions. I just got this feeling. And I’ve been associated with Christmas shows — Bob Hope when I was 12, “Christmas in Washington,” the “Osmond Family Christmas,” “Donny & Marie” Christmas shows — I know Christmas. This show has something for everyone. It’s going to be fun.
You’ve had a long career in entertainment. Do you have a favorite?
Personally, my second favorite thing next to being a mom would be co-founding the Children’s Miracle Network. I told my children the other day: just let my grandchildren know that grandma started that. I’ve done all these [entertainment] things, but not everybody knows that, nor do they even care. When I’m gone, they’ll never know it. What you do in the walls of your home are the most important things you can do in this life.
You had a Vegas residence for 11 years with your brother Donny.
He wanted to go to 10. But — I don’t know if you ever saw “Spinal Tap”?
Yeah, I love that movie.
So we were close to the end of 10 years, and I said to him [in British accent] “Let’s go to 11.” And he goes [in British accent] “Because it’s one more.” And we started laughing, and that’s why we went to 11.
That’s awesome. Do you guys have plans to work together again?
I don’t know. I never say never, but I’d say probably not, just because we’re both getting older and Donny kind of wants to be Wayne Newton and die in Vegas. [laughs] I’m not quite there.
Anything you want to add about what you’re up to?
I’m living life. I have a motorcycle. I’m loving time with my husband — we lost 25 years. I feel incredibly blessed.
You’re referring to being married to Steve Craig, then getting divorced, then remarrying him 25 years later.
I was set to never be married again, but God had a different plan. It was just one of those things. It was an immediate connection again. There were a lot of things that tried to break us up the first time, unfortunately, people and things. But I believe God had a plan.
Is it true you wore the same wedding dress?
Well, I let it out a tiny bit. I couldn’t put my arms up, but I wore that sucker.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
MARIE OSMOND: A SYMPHONIC CHRISTMAS WITH THE RI PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Sponsored by Navigant Credit Union. At PPAC, 220 Weybosset St., Providence, R.I., on Thursday, Dec. 22, at 7:30 p.m.
All ages permitted. All persons require a ticket regardless of age. Tickets: $46.50 and up. 401-421-2787.
For more information, go to: ppacri.org/events/detail/marie-osmond-marie1