“He was an incredibly kind and wonderful father. ... He was loved and will be very missed," says Ken Osmond's son, Eric.
Ken Osmond, best known for his role as the wisecracking troublemaker Eddie Haskell on the CBS sitcom Leave It to Beaver, has been confirmed dead by family. He was 76, and no further details were given.
Kenneth Charles Osmond was born on June 7, 1943, in Glendale, California. He described his upbringing in an interview: "I had a typical stage mother as a child. She had me dancing on stage before I was old enough to even have a memory of it."
At 14, Osmond was hired for what was supposed to be a one-episode guest appearance—a lanky troublemaker and poster-child for bad kids everywhere named Eddie Haskell.
"It was not supposed to be a recurring role when I did the first show, but apparently there was good feedback and the producers liked the character," Osmond said in an interview.
Osmond played the rogue for the show's entire six-season run and returned in a TV movie (Still the Beaver), a sequel series (The New Leave It to Beaver), and 1997’s theatrical release called Leave It to Beaver. Osmond starred in other popular shows of the day (Circus Boy, Annie Oakley, and Lassie) and played minor roles in feature films (1953's So Big, 1955's Good Morning, Miss Dove, and 1956's Everything But the Truth).
After the show's conclusion, Osmond worked as a helicopter pilot, a prop-maker for studios, and eventually joined the LAPD. To land that last job, Osmond had to bulk up with milkshakes and bananas and wore a mustache to disguise his TV-star status. He served as an officer for 18 years—including an incident involving a stolen motorcycle when Osmond was shot three times. His bullet-proof vest stopped two bullets, and his belt buckle deflected the third.
He leaves behind a loving family and a legacy. The critically acclaimed Leave It to Beaver shared a vision of warmth, wisdom, and family with American households. Osmond's work on the show was "unique in so many ways," Osmond said.
"So much of the industry, you read about ex-child actors who got into dope, or he was arrested trying to rob a liquor store. You've never read anything about anyone associated with Leave It to Beaver in a negative light. We just had a real family."
Do you remember Leave It to Beaver? Did Eddie Haskell ever make you nervous, too? Comment below and reminisce with us.