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Three Degrees of Donny Osmond

LDS Living Staff - April 25, 2013

Mormondom can be pretty small, but just how small is it? How many links does it take to connect yourself with beloved LDS celebrity Donny Osmond?

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                                       Donny Osmond, photo from IMDb

This game might sound familiar to some. Does Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon ring a bell? For those of you who aren't familiar with it, in 1994 actor Kevin Bacon gave an interview in which he said he had worked with everyone in Hollywood or someone who's worked with them. Soon afterward, the game of connecting various people to Kevin Bacon in as few links as possible became something of a cultural phenomenon. Bacon even appeared in a Visa commercial that parodied the game. In the commercial, Bacon wants to write a check, but the clerk asks for his ID, which he does not have. Bacon leaves and returns with a group of people, then says to the clerk, "Okay, I was in a movie with an extra, Eunice, whose hairdresser, Wayne, attended Sunday school with Father O'Neill, who plays racquetball with Dr. Sanjay, who recently removed the appendix of Kim, who dumped you sophomore year. So you see, we're practically brothers." (If you want to check it out for yourself, search the name of any actor in Hollywood with "Bacon number" after on Google and you'll find out how they're connected.)
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In that same spirit, we thought it would be fun to create an LDS version of the game—and who better to link to than the iconic performer Donny Osmond? After playing it at the office, we discovered that one editor went to high school with Marie Osmond's daughter and therefore Donny Osmond's niece. Another editor attended a fireside where Donny's wife, Debbie, spoke. And it turns out someone at the office is dating a guy who installed the sound system in Donny Osmond's home years ago. So go ahead and take the challenge: How many degrees are you from Donny Osmond? Share your answers below.

© LDS Living, 2013.
Comments 48 comments

annieb49 said...

07:05 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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The Osmond family built a cabin in a little town in Utah called Paradise. The cabin was eventually sold. Our Stake rented the cabin for a Laurel Retreat. My connection is that I stayed for 2 days and 1 night in a cabin that Donny also stayed in. :)

kandy said...

07:11 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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Many years ago in Florida my husband was at Toy R US about Christmas time. In line was was Marie Osmond. She asked him where the nearest church was located. He wrote the address for the church on the back of one of bank deposit slip. So I am married to someone who has 1 degree of separation.

snapgrowl said...

07:31 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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My older brother used to fly Donny and Marie around when they had the Donny and Marie show back in the 1970's.

snapgrowl said...

07:32 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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oops, so I guess that means I have 1 degree.

hillplus said...

07:51 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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I used to babysit for Donny's older brother, lived down the street, and have met the whole family.

bfcurtis@gmail.com said...

07:57 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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when my son and I went to BYU for a merit badge PowWow. Donny came with his son and I believe we even talked for a minute. I also saw Marie Osmond at a park in Provo. she said she didn't I have time to get beautiful that morning. I thought she looked fine. PS Donny was much shorter than I ever thought.

upbeatmamma said...

08:07 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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Several years ago, Marie came to my town to perform in the Broadway production of "The Sound of Music" which my mother and sister and I attended. The next day at church, myself and a friend, sang in Sacrament meeting. My friend was extremely nervous. Afterwards I learned that Marie was attending our Sacrament meeting. I went up to her afterward and told her how much I enjoyed her performance and she told me I had a beautiful voice.

elakay said...

08:10 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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IN 1985 Jimmy Osmond held the door open for my at my freshman dorm (DT S-hall) at BYU and he is Donnie's brother.

mimiloayza said...

08:10 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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While I was working on a film project at BYU, Donny Osmond came to our set to have one of the actresses try on a costume for his TV show. His brother Tom was my sign language professor, and his brother Merrill was our ward's high councilman for one semester.

aliceb39 said...

08:30 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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A few years ago, at an Osmond Brothers show in Branson MO, I sat in the front row and Merrill Osmond shook my hand. That's 2 degrees, right?

bprothero said...

08:41 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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I met Marie Osmond in Nov 1977, the day I was to enter the LTM (now called the MTC) in Provo. I was purchasing a raincoat at University Mall in Orem, Utah in a small men's suit shop next to ZCMI (now Macy's). Marie came into the store to pick out a shirt and tie for her dad as a gift. We conversed for a few minutes and she wished me great success on my mission. I didn't know it was Marie Osmond at first because she was so petite (TV makes you look bigger) but then I recognized the big Osmond smile. She was very sweet. I saw her again a little later walking through the mall with a large man who I assumed was a body guard. After my mission, around 1979, Donny Osmond made an appearance with a radio station at a store right across the street from my childhood home. So I have a direct connection with Donny and his sister.

kscope said...

08:43 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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Several years ago, the older brothers gave a fireside talk at our chapel in Olathe, KS. I attended and shook their hands.

mamag said...

08:51 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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When our daughter was 11 years old, we took her to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat, starring Donny Osmond. After a fabulous performance, our star-struck daughter wrote Donny a letter, but never heard back. A couple of months later we were in Las Vegas, staying at the MGM. Donny and his family were eating breakfast at the table next to us, so our daughter wanted to get his autograph. Her dad walked over to Donny's table and introduced our daughter, who was hiding behind her dad. Donny talked with and teased her, then gave her his autograph. She was in heaven! Later that day we went to the swimming pool and found that Donny and his family were there, too! Donny came over, calling our daughter by name, and invited her and her brother to swim with his family. Donny even gave them piggy-back rides in the water. That's when I became star-struck! Donny is a compassionate, caring, and loving person who went out of his way to show that to our young daughter.

merriswick said...

08:52 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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My nephew was in Joseph's Coat of Many Colors with Donny Osmond so I guess that is 2 degrees.

bluejayln said...

09:03 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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My son was in the MTC with one of Donny's sons Christmas of 2000. Donny performed.

artval said...

09:26 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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I "refused" to take Donny's check at the University Mall because he didn't have ID. The charge was for the engraving of a watch he had bought for Debbie...$4.00!

mhes said...

09:30 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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In the early 1970’s my distant cousin married one of the non-performing Osmond brothers. My last name has no connection to Osmond, but I guess through the teen fan magazines a connection was made to my cousin’s maiden name. We received many phone calls, at my home, asking if Donny was there.

ruthby said...

09:41 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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I met Donny at the LA temple like 25 - years ago. My laurel group took a tour of the Osmond studio and met Jay

lhunt7060 said...

09:46 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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Back in'73 my friend and I got to go backstage and meet the Osmond's at Caesar's Palace before their show.They were all so nice and Donny was dreamy. During the show we had front row seats and Jimmy came to the edge of the stage to sing to us and slipped off into my friend's lap. The guys were stunned, but no one missed a note. True professionalism! I guess that's a 1 and 2 degree experience that we'll never forget!

mormonangel said...

09:58 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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Many years ago, Marie Osmond did a show at Mickey Gilly's country dance hall and club. I was in the audience with my daughters and got her autograph, and about a minute of talk time. Does that count as 1 degree of separation?

penguinorr said...

10:06 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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My father-in-law left NBC as a scenic artist to come to Orem to be involved with the sets for the Donny & Marie show. My wife has the ice skates that Marie used for their skating skits and several purple scarves and mittens that fans sent in to the show!

avnett said...

10:30 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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My wife our kids, and I were in London some years back and attended a Sacrament meeting there. Donny, Debbie, their kids and his brother Jimmy came in and sat with us. After the meeting, we were able to visit with them outside for about ten minutes. Donny explained that he was in London to accept the British version of an academy award.

mom-of-ten said...

10:46 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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I have 2 different connections. I went to BYU and sat two rows away from Both Donny and Marie at a Bread concert in the late 70's to early 80's. So I degree away there. Then I was at the Palmyra, NY Pageant when Donny as an actor there, Nephite or Lamenite. I was 5 feet away form him where I was able to take his picture for a friend. So another 1 degree, with my friend, Cindy, whom I gave the picture to, was 2 degrees. She was the Donny fan, not so much me.

luvtrvl said...

11:19 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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They lived just down the street from us in Ogden. I was a carhop and served Donny at Kirk's Drive In.

rangerbluemom said...

11:28 AM
on Apr 25, 2013

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The first connection happened in the 60's. My mother, sisters and I traveled on a train from LA to Salt Lake. On the train was Olive Osmond and her daughter Marie. They were in LA for a TV show with Andy Williams. The rest of their family flew but Olive would rather ride the train. I played with Marie. When I was at BYU, I saw Donny and Debbie at the mall in Orem. Many years later, I was walking through a church parking lot in Irvine, CA and heard a familiar voice so I followed it. I saw a man from the back hauling an infant seat trying to keep some little boys from running through the parking lot. I did not recognize him until he called out again. I was speechless and said nothing. Brillant, huh? Donny attended my ward sometimes when he was in the area. Jimmy did as well.

lynnblethen said...

01:30 PM
on Apr 25, 2013

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In the mid-80s, my husband was in London and met Donny's parents at the Hyde Park Chapel. They were serving as missionaries there. I think that's at least two degrees... and My Husband puts me at the third degree.... OH! I so hope this counts, as I certainly don't want to be left out! :)

twocats said...

02:01 PM
on Apr 25, 2013

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In the mid-'70s, Paul H. Dunn wrote a book about the Osmond family; he an Donny and Marie were in Boise, Idaho, to sign the book at three locations. A friend and I drove to Boise and followed them to all three locations to get the book signed as well as a couple of other items we bought at the stores to be signed; by the third visit, they called us by our first names. A year or two later, Donny and Marie did a concert in Pocatello, Idaho. I went with another friend and was able to get pictures up close near the stage. Yet a year or two later, I and yet another friend made a drive trip from our home in Idaho to southern Utah and back and on the way, stopped in Provo and toured the Osmond's studio, where we met Jay at the front desk. Then just a couple of years ago, the four older brothers (Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay) did a concert in Twin Falls, Idaho, as part of a fundraising for the local Boy Scouts; I and several friends attended the concert. How many degrees does that give me?

twocats said...

02:06 PM
on Apr 25, 2013

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I guess there is one more connection of sorts. I have a good friend who was raised in the same southeastern Idaho area as Olive (I think her maiden name was Davis?) and my friend's family had some Davises in their family history but I don't know if they were related to Mrs. Osmond's Davis line (if that was indeed her maiden name).

larrystrong said...

02:15 PM
on Apr 25, 2013

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My youngest son was married in the Salt Lake Temple on June 7, 1991. This was the same day Jimmy Osmond was married in the Salt Lake Temple, and we saw the Osmonds all over the place.

cheillie said...

04:47 PM
on Apr 25, 2013

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My sister went to school with Donny's son, and I met David Osmond (Donny's nephew) at a convention in 2011.

3keikis said...

08:34 PM
on Apr 25, 2013

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I live in Hawaii, and I have an autographed photo of Donny from his Vegas show on my desk at work which has created many a conversation, and I'm excited to say I feel so connected to Donny :-). Because of the picture, I found out a friend of mine dated him in high school and knows Debbie; another acquaintance played soccer with Chris, one of Donny's sons; another acqaintance used to date Chris, Donny's son; and yet another acquaintance lived down the street from them. I feel like Donny is almost family!! LOL!!!

kiwigurl said...

11:44 PM
on Apr 25, 2013

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1983-84, I was a student at BYU Hawaii and worked at the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) as a Laie Tour Guide. Our trams took guests of the PCC on a tour of BYU Hawaii, the community of Laie, and the Hawaiian Temple Grounds and Visitors' Center. Donny and Marie's parents were serving a mission as Directors of the Visitors Center. Sister Osmond was often on the phone with Marie - Marie was expecting her first child. Brother Osmond exuded genuine warmth. I thought he was fantastic. Great memories.

beccahansen said...

06:21 AM
on Apr 26, 2013

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I used to be Donny's secretary and sang back-ups for 5 of his concerts. One-degree. He's a genuinely great guy. Oh,and a guy I grew up with is now his doctor.

amomof5 said...

07:53 AM
on Apr 26, 2013

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Donny & his family were in my parent's ward while they were on a mission and Donny was in Joseph & the Technicolor Dreamcoat. Donny was the Gospel Doctrine teacher & my father was always very vocal in Sunday School!

toniaizu said...

08:41 AM
on Apr 26, 2013

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Marie's husband, Steve Craig, grew up in the Westdale Ward and we knew his family. Donny is Marie's brother, so that would be three degrees of separation. I also met Donny's brother, Jimmy, in our ward library. He is in the other ward that shares our meetinghouse. That would be two degrees of separation.

debkarj said...

05:48 PM
on Apr 26, 2013

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Donny was the counselor in a BYU bishopric who set me apart as Relief Society counselor

squishy said...

03:49 PM
on Apr 27, 2013

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I have a good friend who was in the hill camorah pagent with Donny Osmond once.

narnia said...

09:57 PM
on Apr 27, 2013

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When people call my cellphone and get voicemail, it is Donny telling them I can't talk to them right now and to leave a message. He recorded it for me outside the New Zealand temple when he was here on tour just after he turned 50. He had a brand new grandson and showed me a picture of him on his phone. I showed him a picture of my new grandson and they looked like they could have been brothers. He confessed he was missing him heaps. The first time I met Donny was when passed me in a hallway, backstage at one of his concerts. He was young and at the height of his fame and on tour in NZ. I was so excited when he spoke to me. He said "Excuse me" as he passed by.

kfunk said...

10:47 PM
on Apr 27, 2013

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My stepmom manages his fan club and has for years. She has meet with Donny and Marie and some of their siblings many times.

katiefrankie said...

12:09 AM
on Apr 28, 2013

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My husband saw Donny Osmond in the Palmyra pageant just before his mission and gleefully holds it over my head, as I have had a crush on Donny Osmond since I was 17. SO not fair!!!

lakelalady said...

12:36 AM
on Apr 28, 2013

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1. My father worked for a large city and had several dealings with the Osmond Family when they lived in Arleta, CA. He told me that they were very kind people, and that he was invited to their house on several occasions. 2. Jay Osmond married Kandilyn Harris, who is the daughter of my former bishop, and her mom was our Burbank III ward Primary President. I used to babysit Kandi and her two younger brothers (Robbie and Travis)when they were children. 3. My best friend lived about two or three houses away from the Osmond Family in Arleta, CA. She and the Osmond kids used to play together in the neighborhood.

samaurisw said...

06:50 PM
on Apr 28, 2013

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When I was about 7 years old I stayed at the same motel in Ogden as they did. When we went swimming my Mom kept saying "Look the Osmonds!" All I remember is a lot of yelling ,running and splashing. My Mom says I was unimpressed. When I was 18 and went to BYU they owned a apartment building next to campus and if you were walking to get to the Roy Rogers restaurant it took some watchful care to not get run down by "Little Jimmy" on his skateboard. Years later at BYU I was interviewed by Jay as part of Admissions. He was very nice and sincerely helpful. In retrospect its somewhat shocking to be in a normal but anxiety provoking situation--then suddenly sitting down with a celebrity for a personal interview. Due to the fact that I was divorced I needed "administrative clearance" to be readmitted. I was only 21 credits from a degree so I'm glad he voted in my favor.

pamm1ekmw said...

09:49 AM
on Apr 29, 2013

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In the early 80's, I lived in the Houston area and Donny and Marie were here for the Houston Rodeo. They were giving a fireside at a local LDS building one Sunday night. They also wanted to attend Sunday morning meetings that day and my Bishop's wife, Cheryl Benton, received a phone call from the manager of Donny and Marie at the time. Donny needed a ride to church. Marie was still on her honeymoon with her first and now third husband so she opted to stay at the hotel. Cheryl said "you bet" to the ride and made it to the hotel to discover that Donny's manager was a former classmate of hers at BYU. She had no idea he was in the entertainment management business. Sooooo, Cheryl attended church with Donny and his manager. Unfortunately for me, I was visiting family in Louisiana at the time. Years later, Donny also showed up at my former son-in-law's brother's home in the Provo area during Halloween night. My first grandchild, Hana, was there when he dropped by to see all the costumed Neves kids. Soooo, I'm one grandchild and one friend removed from Donny Osmond.

americanmom said...

01:26 PM
on Apr 29, 2013

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I met Donny and his father backstage just as our choir, directed by Gladys Knight, was heading for the stage to perform. He had brought his father backstage to meet Gladys.

nancychef1 said...

02:26 PM
on Apr 30, 2013

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1-In 1973 I was singing in the choir for a fireside in the Marriott Center - Donny was on the front row facing our choir. 2-In 1974 my husband and I were playing tennis. This kid kept missing the ball and it went to our side. Turns out it was Donny! 3-In 1975 we came to Nashville so our new baby could meet his grandparents - turns out the Osmond brothers and Marie did a fireside that Sunday 4-Saw Donny dressed as Samuel the Lamanite at the Hill Cumorah pageant 5- My sister's worker knew where Donny lived and drove me past their home. Need I say more? We're related!!

marieski said...

11:27 PM
on Apr 30, 2013

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Marie came to my son's work one day. He approached her and said "I think you're Marie Osmond!" She replied "I think you're right!"

bettyh said...

02:03 PM
on May 03, 2013

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In 1980 I flew to Utah from Kentucky. On the last leg of the trip I sat with a couple of men who were involved in the charity Marie was involved in. I think it was The Children's Miracle Network. As we were flying over SLC, they pointed out the SLC Temple. A moment I'll never forget.

mkep54 said...

08:18 PM
on May 07, 2013

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My oldest daughter was friends with and went on a group date with Don, Donny's oldest son. My brother taught Marie's children piano in California years ago. He was at the middle school band concert watching his son perform and I was at the same concert watching my son perform. His son was fantastic on percussion. I once saw him (in the 70's) driving in a convertible close to Riviera Apartments in Provo.
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