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‘I could tell you story after story’: The 6 degrees of Marie Osmond

Ahead of Marie Osmond’s Deer Valley concert, the entertainer discusses symphonic music, ‘The Talk’ and her many celebrity encounters

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SALT LAKE CITY — At this point, Marie Osmond kind of has this whole celebrity thing figured out.

Perhaps it’s no surprise. She’s been around celebs since childhood.

“There are entertainers, and then there are entertainers,” Osmond said during a recent phone interview, while discussing Sammy Davis Jr. According to Osmond, the Rat Pack legend taught her how to command a stage and work a crowd back when she was starting out.

“His spontaneity was amazing,” she said. “You can have a structure of a show, but you play off the audience. And you have to let them know that you’re there for them the moment you walk on stage.”

For Osmond, stories like these come quickly and easily. She mentions Lucille Ball — years ago, Osmond said Ball gave her the following advice: “If you want to last in this business, know your lighting. Men mature, and women get old. So learn how not to.”

“I mean, I could tell you story after story,” Osmond said. “From Perry Como to Bob Hope to Little Richard to Tina Turner, I’ve worked with everybody. It’s really crazy when I stop to think about it.”

Marie Osmond in 1980.

Marie Osmond in 1980.

Harry Langdon Photography

Other names get dropped, too, like Andy Williams, the Carpenters, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. For Osmond, her life in show business has often been about linking old Hollywood and new Hollywood.

She and her brother, Donny, are concluding an 11-year Las Vegas residency this year — a residency that was supposed to last only six weeks originally. In show business, the Osmond name is shorthand for a wholesome, ultimately nostalgic type of song-and-dance entertainment. But when you look at Marie Osmond’s career more closely, it’s founded not just on the past. Instead, it’s a specific mix of nostalgia and reinvention. She tries new things — first music, then television, then launching charities (in this case, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals), then writing and even designing porcelain dolls — while continually reminding you of her past endeavors.

Take, for example, her upcoming gig as co-host of CBS’s roundtable show “The Talk.” Osmond has guest-hosted “The Talk” for years, and said CBS brought her on full-time because of her diverse life experiences.

“I don’t think I’m the typical celebrity, because I have eight children,” Osmond said. “And I think I can could probably relate with most any celebrity that came on there, in one way or another. I’ve done everything from honky tonk to Carnegie Hall. Whether it’s doing Broadway or doing film, I can relate in some way. But I can also relate as a mother and a grandmother.

“Hopefully I can give interesting advice,” she added. "I don’t want to judge anyone. I’ll just share things that I believe can be useful and helpful.”

Much of Osmond’s advice will likely come from the past decade — a time period she simply calls “an interesting ride.”

“I went through a terrible divorce and custody battles while I was doing these (Las Vegas) shows,” she explained. “I went through some really tough times. I lost my son during the Vegas residency. I got married again during the Vegas residency. I changed a lot of the people around me during the Vegas residency. Just really got my life back.”

She also started pursuing classical/symphonic music. Osmond will showcase her chops at the Deer Valley Music Festival on June 29, where she’ll be performing with the Utah Symphony. Osmond said she’s got a new album coming out soon, which was recorded in Prague with the Prague Symphony Orchestra. Saturday’s show will feature some of this new music.

“I won’t be doing a lot of these, so this will be a very unique show,” she said. “I will share five decades of my life with you. And I promise you will leave there knowing who I am better.”

If you go …

What: Marie Osmond with the Utah Symphony

When: June 29, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater, 2250 Deer Valley Drive, Suite #501, Park City

How much: $52-$125

Web: deervalleymusicfestival.org

Correction: An earlier version incorrectly stated that Donny and Marie Osmond's Las Vegas residency was originally scheduled to last for six months. It was actually a six-week engagement.