The Woman Who Gave Elvis Presley and the Queen a Book of Mormon

Nine children with 34 gold and platinum records, hit television shows, over 102 million records sold worldwide, and an international following in the UK to rival that of the Beatles' success in the United States. Not to mention a non-profit foundation that has raised more than $5 billion for 170 children's hospitals across the nation.

Oh, and did I mention she's a faithful Latter-day Saint who shared her faith fearlessly—no matter what, where, or who she was with?

The woman behind such success and such selfless service? Olive Osmond—or Mother Osmond as she was known by her loving fans.

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Olive and George

There was nothing particularly grand about the Osmond family's genesis. Born in Samaria, Idaho, Olive May met George Osmond in Ogden, Utah, where she was working as a secretary. The two fell in love and married on December 1, 1944. The first few years of marriage were full of happiness right alongside heartache and hardship as Olive and George welcomed two sons into their family, Virl and Tom, both born with a degenerative condition that left them nearly deaf.

However, fear that their other children could suffer from the same defect didn't deter the Osmonds from pursuing their dream of having a large family, and Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, Donny, Marie, and Jimmy were all welcomed into the family.

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Image from Wikimedia Commons.

In the early 1960s, George formed a barbershop quartet with sons Alan, Wayne, Merrill, and Jay that eventually landed them an act at Disneyland. While performing in a televised Disney special, the quartet caught the eye of Andy Williams' father, and pretty soon the family became regulars on The Andy Williams' Show.

From there, the family's path to stardom continued its explosive trajectory, taking them to exotic venues and to meet with celebrities and dignitaries around the world.

But even in this sudden tide of fame and fortune, Olive was sure to keep her children grounded and to teach them the faith and truths she held so dear. And, at every opportunity, Olive sought to share those life-changing beliefs with those she met—no matter their title. That courage and conviction led her to sharing the Book of Mormon with the likes of Elvis Presley and Queen Elizabeth.

Lead image of Olive and George Osmond with three of their children (left to right) Marie, Jimmy, and Donny in Stockholm, Sweden, circa 1966. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images.
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