Hello, my name is George Virl Osmond Jr.
Well, I suppose that you already know that. I am the eldest child of George and Olive Osmond. My siblings are Tom, Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, Donny, Marie and Jimmy.
Now, my brother Tom and I are not as well known as they are because we were born with hearing disabilities and could not sing and participate in show business with them. Ours was the view from backstage. So we have lived a pretty “normal” life compared to them.
I was born October 19, 1945 in Ogden, Utah. I was the oldest of seven brothers and one sister. We were raised on a farm in North Ogden. Being the oldest, I got the responsibility of doing a lot of chores that my younger siblings managed to miss. I milked our 2 cows every morning and night, cleaned the barn, fed the animals, pasteurized the milk and churned the butter. As the rest of the family got older, they started to help me. We would hoe acres of sugar beets, and harvest rows of apple trees. And we always had a garden planted which meant that there were plenty of weeds to pull, and lots of days canning the harvest with Mother.
Just as my brothers were old enough to take on some more farm responsibilities, Mother and Father discovered that they could sing. Well Tom and I couldn’t do that, so we kept farming and Father worked hard to teach them singing harmony and I guess you know the history of what that turned out to be. Our paths sort of went in different directions after that.
Even though I had a severe hearing loss, hearing aids enabled me to hear well enough that I could go to regular schools. Brother Tom’s hearing loss was worse than mine and he went to the School for the Deaf in Ogden. Sometimes I think that he got the better deal. I was always made fun of because of my bulky hearing aids that ran from a plug in my ears, down a wire and into a receiver box strapped to my chest. Where Tom was, everyone was deaf and no one thought hearing aids were weird. I once got teased a bit too much by a boy in school and I hauled off and hit him. It broke one of my fingers!
By the time I was in high school, the rest of my family was deep into a Show Business career. During High School, I had the privilege of joining the R.O.T.C. (Reserves Officer Training Corps). I was able to advance to the rank of a Sergeant First Class. This gave me a sense of confidence that I needed most in my adolescence years. Later, the process of working towards an Eagle Scout award for both Tom and me proved very beneficial in our growth and development.
Father and my Brothers went to California to perform and while there they went to Disneyland. They saw barbershop singers on Main Street. Barbershop is what my brothers sang, so my Father made them perform right there on the spot. That got them a contract to sing in Disneyland for a few weeks. Well that really didn’t bother me or Tom. We still lived in Utah and had the farm and our life remained the same. But then, Andy Williams’ Father saw the boys singing in Disneyland and told his son to audition them. That is when everyone’s life changed. He put them on his TV show and they got so much mail that Andy made them a regular on his weekly TV Show.
Suddenly the farm was sold and we moved to California and I finished my high school years at San Fernando Valley High School. All that I had known and loved as a boy was turned upside down. I was already a pretty shy person, but in high school in Southern California, I was even more shy! And that was a tough school with really tough kids in it. I just kept to myself and graduated as fast as I could.
Instead of having farm chores to do, now I had chauffeuring assignments to take my brothers to rehearsals and help them with homework now that they were home schooled. I mowed the lawn and helped mother around the house. Tom remained in the deaf school in Ogden until he graduated.
Most of my alone time was spent drawing. I was fascinated with the intricate geometry of nature and I would spend hours studying geometry and biology and taking photos of nature and drawing it. After graduating from high school, I went to the Los Angeles Center for Design. After a year I transferred to University of California at Northridge and continued to study design.
In 1966 I wanted to go on a mission for my church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They had never sent a deaf person on a mission before and it took awhile to get permission to go. Finally I was called to serve in Calgary, Alberta, Canada where my primary responsibility was to actually teach the deaf! Six months later, after Tom graduated from the school for the deaf, he was also called to the same mission and served as my companion there. We were the first missionaries in the church called to teach the deaf. After us, many deaf young men got the opportunity to go on missions.
I returned home from my mission in September of 1968. My family was still performing on the Andy Williams Show. Even Donny and Marie were involved now. They were starting to write music and record their own records. Everyone was so busy and I felt like I was moving in slow motion and they were buzzing around me.
In October of the same year, I went to church one Sunday and I showed up at the chapel an hour too early because everyone had gone off daylight savings time except me. Well, there was one other person that was there in the foyer who also showed up too early. Her name was Chris Carroll. We sat and talked for an hour and I knew right then that I had found my eternal companion. We had our first date on Halloween. We were engaged in November and were married on December 21, 1968.
We moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where I continued school at the University of Utah. On Halloween of 1969 our first child, Aaron was born. Now that’s spooky! One year later on November 1, 1970 our second child, Jared was born.
By this time, my brothers had released “One Bad Apple” and what had been a relatively quiet life for me up to that time changed very rapidly! The song became a #1 hit and the first concert tour was on. I remained in school and also was managing a small apartment complex for my parents. But suddenly thousands and thousands of letters started to come to my brothers. My mother was being pressured by teen magazines to let them run a “fan club” for the boys and receive all the letters. But mother found out what they really meant when she learned that no letter would ever be read, they would only take the address off of the envelope and then send out info.
Well, Mother would have none of that. She decided to turn the apartment building I was managing and living in, into a fan club! I quit school and Chris and I began receiving 4 to 6 bags of mail a day! Some how, my Mother was determined that every piece of mail would be read. Well, we poured through the piles full time and found that a lot of the mail was just an inquiry as to weather a Mormon could marry a non-Mormon because girls wanted to know what their chances were with Donny. But we were surprised that there were so many inquiries about our religious beliefs. There were also many heartbreaking letters from young people with so many kinds of problems and sadness in their lives. My Mother wanted them answered and so my Mother and my sweet Wife Chris began a letter writing campaign that lasted for over 3 years!
The Osmond Brothers Fan Club grew and moved out of the apartment and into a commercial building. I continued to run it and with my brother Tom, we organized and published materials for their press kits and I took hundreds of photos of my brothers and Marie for publicity. We started our own magazine called Backstage (which was written mostly by my wife) and had another magazine in England called “Osmond World.” We sent hundreds of packages of information about the Mormon Church to those who asked for it, and there were many that received our church missionaries and were later baptized.
Well, we did all this while I was still trying to go to school part time. By 1972 our daughter Virginia was born. We moved to Provo, Utah and I attended Brigham Young University. We remained involved in the Fan Club which also moved to Provo. By 1974, the Osmond Brothers were as big in England as the Beatles and insanely popular in America, Canada, Japan and just about everywhere – from Europe to South America to Africa. It was a phenomenon that just took our breath away and made it so hard to comprehend.
Chris and I now had our fourth child David and I was – yes, still in school – and my brothers were starting to get interested in marriage. First Merrill and Mary were wed, then Alan & Suzanne, and then Wayne and Kathy. Then there was the popularity of the Donny and Marie Show.
Through all this, Chris and I remained quite isolated in a sense. We lived in a little rental in South Provo and I was trying to finish up my art degree. But when they broke ground for the Osmond Studio in Orem, the Fan Club got moved there and Mother and Father were determined that all of us would work there together! So, I put my college education on hold again, and went full time into Fan Club work again and publishing and public relations for the brothers. It makes my head spin now when I think of it and the hard work, time and effort that went into being a part of everything going on in that studio.
Now we had our fifth child, Olivia and we were expecting another baby. I tried to go back to school, but it was not even feasible at that point. The brothers and Marie were too popular and we were all swept up in the responsibility that went with it.
In 1977 our son Hyrum was born, then Joseph in 1978 and we had a family of seven children! We decided that the Lord rested on the seventh day and we would rest on the seventh child. My wife had given birth to 7 children in 9 years and she deserved a break!
Just when everything looked wonderful for the future, my family went through some hardships. The Donny and Marie Show was cancelled, there was a struggle keeping the studio going with other things, and the brothers and Marie all sort of decided to go their separate ways at that point and see what they could do on their own. Mother and Father went on a mission to England and later Hawaii and the Fan Club was scaled down.
Chris and I were living in a sweet little split level home in Orem, Utah at the time. It was very modest and we preferred life that way. I stayed involved with the Fan Club part time, sold Insurance part time and went back to school part time.
In 1982 I was offered a job at a commercial design center in Burbank, California and we packed up our little family and with a U-haul and our old station wagon, we moved to Simi Valley, California to begin a new life. We loved it there. It was a wonderful experience for us and for the children. But after about 6 months, the company that I worked for lost a big contract and they laid off people and I was one of them. The one place you do not want to be without a job is California. The cost of living there is ridiculous. But luckily I found another job at a travel agency and promoted tours for another year and a half. But the economy was way too expensive for us there so in 1984 we moved back to Utah.
For the next 20 years both Chris and I worked at several jobs. She worked for some years at WordPerfect Corporation and other companies and I did everything from photography to publishing to insurance sales. We moved a lot and we pretty much concentrated on just loving and raising our children to the best of our ability. Finally, I went back to school and in 1996 I graduated from Brigham Young University in Graphic Arts and have been working in that field ever since. That is, except for 2 years when we moved to Branson, Missouri after all our children were raised, to work at the Osmond Brothers’ Theater while they performed there. It was a funny thing to do at that point in our lives but it was a fun experience.
I am very grateful to be part of the Osmond Family. I love my brothers and sister very much. I was raised by loving and goodly parents whom I miss very much and will spend the rest of my life emulating. I consider myself a very fortunate man to have had such a wonderful Mother and Father. I am very grateful that I have my Father’s name and I hope I can always honor it.