Happy Birthday, Marie Osmond!

Marie Osmond celebrates her 51st birthday today.

The only girl in the famous, and famously large Osmond performing family, she didnt regularly sing with her brothers. But she did launch her own music career, focused on country music. In 1973, she released her first single, Paper Roses, which achieved widespread popularity even outside the country nicheit hit Top 5 on the Billboard pop chart and would turn into a gold record. The next year, she teamed up with pop singer brother Donny for two more hits, and further songs of her own made it into the Top 40.

In 1976, she and Donny took up the variety show Donny & Marie. In 1978 she starred in made-for-TV film The Gift of Love. Her film with Donny, Goin Coconuts (1978) flopped, but the 1980s saw her flourish in the music world with a number of #1 country hits, including Theres No Stopping Your Heart (1986). Also in the mid-80s, she spent two seasons introducing segments of Ripleys Believe It or Not. In the 90s she was a hit on Broadway, in The King and I and The Sound of Music.

Shes also featured in a few films about the Osmonds themselvesshe played her mother in a TV movie about the family, and herself in the 2001 TV movie Inside the Osmonds. In 1998, she and Donny returned to television once more, for the now ampersand-free talk show Donny And Marie, which stayed on-air for two seasons. They currently have a Vegas variety show, Donny & Marie, in which theyll be performing at least into 2012. Osmond recently appeared on Dancing With the Stars, coming in third place in the fifth season; and she sells her own sculpted dolls on QVC. Recently, she lost upwards of 40 pounds on Nutrisystem, and acts in their informercials.

Osmond is twice-married, to Stephen Craig and then to Brian Blosil, and had eight children; sadly, her son Michael recently committed suicide. Her eldest daughter is a lesbian, with Osmonds full support despite her Mormon religion.

Check out a musical salute to Marie Osmond put together by the ThirdAge Staff.

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