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Osmond Family Photo
Olive Osmond

When they were approached to host a Mother's Day TV special, Donny and Marie Osmond couldn't help but reflect on their own mother.

"This is such a special day for us because we love our mother so much," Donny said. "And it's a pretty significant day for us because she passed away on Mother's Day four years ago. We couldn't turn this down."

"Mother Osmond," as Olive was known to legions of Osmond fans, died May 9, 2004, 2 1/2 years after suffering a stroke. And both Donny and Marie said they had her in mind when they agreed to host "Teleflora Presents America's Favorite Mom," which airs tonight at 6 on NBC/Ch. 5.

Thousands of mothers — from stay-at-home moms to working moms to military moms — were nominated by their friends and families. A panel narrowed the field to 15, who were introduced to viewers on the "Today Show" this past week. Voting online, viewers have chosen five finalists and will choose the winner, who will take home thousands of dollars in cash and prizes.

"The mothers of today are unique," Marie said. "It's this whole thing of doing it all, hearing it all and trying to do it all perfectly. And I think sometimes it's a very difficult expectation."

"The most underpaid, overworked profession in the world is to be a mother," Donny said. "I don't know how my mother did it with nine children in show biz, and I don't know how Marie does it" with eight.

When it was pitched to him, Donny wasn't convinced that an Osmond-hosted Mother's Day special was a good idea.

"I'll be honest with you. ... As soon as I heard the concept — Donny and Marie hosting a Mother's Day special — I thought, 'Well, maybe we ought to pass out insulin shots to everybody afterward because it's going to be really sweet,"' he said. "But then they told me, 'No, read the script. You'll understand exactly where we're going with this thing."'

"We're very excited about (it), since our mom passed away on Mother's Day," Marie agreed. "And mothers, I'll tell you, they're the nucleus of life. I believe that this kind of an honor is something that we really do need."

Marie said all of her brothers learned a lot from their parents about "the family structure where you have a woman in the home who is treated equally and who is cherished and adored. They're like a team. ... And that was what our parents taught." (George Osmond passed away in November 2007 at the age of 90.)

It's something that Marie sees in her married nephews — something that "passes down" from generation to generation. "I think it starts with the respect for the woman, and my dad had incredible respect for my mother."

Donny said his mom's best advice was a rather familiar saying.

"When times got rough — and they always did — no matter what business you're in, no matter what size of family you have, life has a tendency to throw curveballs at you," he said. "And you just don't know how you're going to get out of situation. And she just said, 'Be patient. This too shall pass."'

Patience and perseverance have certainly paid off for Donny and Marie. The duo and their brothers are about to embark on a tour that will take them to Europe and Asia; Donny and Marie will do a week at the MGM-Grand in Las Vegas in July; they will perform with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on July 25 and 26; and in September they'll start a 26-week engagement as headliners at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel in Las Vegas.

Oh, and Marie was not only a break-out star on "Dancing With the Stars" last fall, but she will host a daytime talk show beginning in the fall of 2009. And she's working on a book.

"Boy, I tell you, we're not going to slow down for a whole year," she said.

"I thought I was going to retire at 50," said Donny, who passed that milestone in December. "I've never worked harder in my life. I really thought I was going to slow down about this time in my life and just enjoy my grandkids. But it's like Marie said — this next year is going to be really pretty much on the go and nonstop."

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Marie said. "And I didn't know that I would be a single mom having to work this much. Life is never what we think it's going to be, so you grab onto the reins and you just enjoy the ride no matter what it is."

Marie is single after two divorces; she and her first husband had one child; she and her second husband had two more and they adopted five kids.

Donny not only has five sons, who range age from 28 to 10, but he's got two grandchildren. And none of them are overly impressed by their famous forebear.

"Oh, I'm just another dad," Donny. said "As a matter of fact, a lot of the kids in the neighborhood, they call me Uncle Donny. I'm just another neighbor."

Marie said her kids have started to sit up and taken notice in the past few months.

"I mean, they're my kids and they know it's my job," she said. "But since I've gotten back into shape, since I've been on NutriSystem and all that stuff, it's fun when your teenage daughters ... start dressing you, and they're, like 'My mommy's hot.' And I'm, like, 'Yes, I am having a hot flash."'

Marie's oldest son is 25; her youngest daughter is 5.

"I feel I have two separate families. I have my older ones and then I have my four younger ones — 11, 10, 8 and 5. So let's just say that I will be doing this the rest of my life," she said with a laugh. "And, I mean, with eight kids you enter a whole new realm of reality. It's not called family. It's called a small nation that I have following me around. I've got a lot of kids and their friends, so my house is always crazy and busy. And fun."


E-mail: pierce@desnews.com