“Listen, could we just say I'm Switzerland on that one? I'd rather remain neutral, publicly.”
That was Donny Osmond's response when I asked him how he felt about a Mormon candidate for president – Mitt Romney – and would Romney's faith affect Donny's vote in November? (Osmond is famously Mormon himself.) But, that was just about the only time Donny went to Switzerland. He is one of the most open, gregarious, amusing men I've ever met. I'd interviewed him twice before. Once solo, once with his beautiful sister, Marie. I'd expected the former teen idol to be uptight and cheesy and unforthcoming. Shows how wrong you can be.
When we spoke of his family, I expressed surprise that he had only five children. I was sure he had more. “I know,” he said. “I'm a terrible Mormon. Only five. I think they should kick us out.” I said, “Well, I'm sure your wife thinks five is enough.” Donny cackled and said, “My wife? Which one?” (Donny's had but one wife, but he obviously has a sense of humor about his religion's history with polygamy.) He has three grandchildren.
Donny has traveled the long road from teen idol to faded teen idol, to failed Broadway star (“Little Johnny Jones”) to successful stage star (“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”) to revitalized pop singer, to “Dancing with the Stars” winner to Las Vegas phenomenon to radio DJ.
And at 54, he is looking for new adventures in the only world he has ever known – show biz. (He and his siblings all began working as children.)
We joked that “50 is the new 30.” And Donny said, “Well, that must mean 30 is the new 10!” He refers to his and Marie's Las Vegas gig as “The show that just won't die!” It's been going since 2008. (“Right after I won ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ which I never let Marie forget!”) He'll soon be putting out his 60th album. That's right, 60th!
Doesn't he ever want to slow down? “I'm like everybody else. I get tired sometimes. But, really, this is what I do. I've been doing it since it I was 5 years old. And at this pace. Slowing down doesn't feel right.”