R.I.P. Ken Osmond, who played best buddy Eddie Haskell on Leave It to Beaver

Osmond later became a police officer. He was 76.

Read to Me

Ken Osmond grew up in California going to auditions at a young age. His dad was a carpenter while his mom helped the boy become a child star. Commercial work and some small bit television parts led to a role that made Osmond one of the most familiar kids of 1960s television. He became Eddie Haskell, Wally Cleaver's best friend.

People once believed that heavy-metal icon Alice Cooper, under all that makeup, was Eddie Haskell from Leave It to Beaver. The legend became so ubiquitous that Alice Cooper started wearing a T-shirt that emphatically declared, "NO. I'M NOT EDDIE HASKELL."

Why did an urban legend center around Eddie Haskell? Part of it had to do with the nature of the character himself. He was one of the most iconic supporting characters in sitcom history.

On Leave It to Beaver, the Cleaver family reflected the ideal of 1950s suburbia. Beaver and his big brother Wally never cursed. No, they peppered their speech with "Gosh!" and "Gee whiz!" The boys' beds always seemed to be made. Meanwhile, June Cleaver did the housework in a dress and pearls. Such portraits of perfect Americana needed a bad boy, a Fonz, if you will. That's where Eddie Haskell came in.

Eddie Haskell was the rascal. He was precociously, deviously adult. He charmed the grown-ups, while secretly plotting wicked deeds with his peers. He was the devil on the shoulder of Wally and Beaver. It's no wonder that Bart Simpson was inspired by this original bad boy.

Plus, on the ladder of celebrity, Ken Osmond existed on that perfect rung between TV star and minor character. Eddie Haskell was a household name that nobody had thought about in ages. He was tucked away somewhere in the basement of everyone's brain.

It helped that Osmond himself had vanished from acting. With good reason. By the end of the 1960s, the actor found himself permanently pigeonholed. So he walked away from the profession. In 1970, a year after getting married, Osmond signed up with the LAPD. While Alice Cooper was singing, "School's out forever," Osmond patroled Los Angeles as a motorcycle cop. He worked as a narcotics and vice cop.

After a decade on the job, Osmond was chasing a car thief when he was shot three times. His belt buckle and bulletproof vest saved his life. Ironically, the incident led to another TV appearance. Osmond was the subject of a 1992 episode of Top Cops.

By then, however, Osmond had returned to his most famous role. From 1983 to 1989, he played a married Eddie Haskell on The New Leave It to Beaver. The cable revival ran for four seasons on The Disney Channel and TBS.

Outside of Leave It to Beaver, Osmond had few acting credits. He popped up in an episode of Petticoat Junction or Wagon Train here and there. In the 1990s, he made a couple of rare cameos on the sitcoms Parker Lewis Can't Lose and Hi Honey, I'm Home — once again playing Eddie Haskell for a laugh.

Osmond passed away on May 18, according to Variety. He was 76.

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frenchman71 9 months ago
Eddie Haskell's character has to be one of the most memorable all-time from all the sitcoms that were. Osmond played the part to perfection. You just loved to hate him and to wanted Wally to deck him just once to even the score. R.I.P., Eddie...you were great.
papaslug7 12 months ago
Love all info regarding actors in those great shows that i grew up with. Such wonderful memories.
13 months ago
Eddie Haskell was the real star on LITB. Everybody loved him!
DarioWiter 14 months ago
Rest in peace, Eddie(you schemer, you!). 😀😀😀😀😀
Yolandadiana 15 months ago
May you rest in peace in the arms of the Lord Ken. Love ,hugs and Blessings on Ken's family. Thanks for the memories
MeowMeow1962 16 months ago
RIP Ken. Everybody needs an Eddie to keep them honest - he was the ultimate "scared straight" icon to every parent in the 60's.
Yadira 16 months ago
Oh my gosh ! I just heard the bad news and I could not help it . I was intears to know that one of the most peculiar character is nolonger with us . I watch the sitcom every single day and I am such a big fan of the show and all his characters . I am really sad today and I just pray God to take him in his arms and may his soul R.I.P. May God bless his soul !!!
George 16 months ago
I loved Leave it to Beaver. I remember when officer Osmond pulled me over. I was young & drunk. He said,"do you know why I pulled you over?" I looked right at him & said, "cause you got all C's in school" he laughed & gave me a warning. Mind ya it was 1982. Great guy. R.I.P.
FrankCollins 16 months ago
He sure played that Eddie Haskell role well. Arguably, the best Beaver episodes were those with Eddie. He was also in the made for TV movies made about 30 years after the TV show, that included June but by then Ward had died. They also had Wally and the Beaver.
cherylgafner 16 months ago
I had THE biggest crush on Eddie!!!
Rest well kind sir.
robert 16 months ago
oddly the beav and eddie teamed up in later years to try to promote book signings and the like. wally sort of an odd duck shunned the business and became a sculptor.
Eddiewallybeaver4ever 16 months ago
This absolutely broke my heart. I So love watching Eddie. He has said so many funny things that I find it near impossible to pick just one episode. I have watched LITB for years and never get tired of seeing his antics/wisecracks. He's one of a kind that Eddie!
redcamaross 16 months ago
So sad to hear Ken Osmond has passed. Love watching LITB each morning and especially Eddie’s two way personality between the adults and his friends. He was a great actor and helped make this show as great as it still is. RIP
charlesfroland 16 months ago
An example of "Art imitating life" because we all grew up with an "Eddie Haskell" in our life. Rest in peace Ken Osmond, and thanks for the laughs !!!
dmagoon 16 months ago
Is Ken Osmond related to Donny Osmond?
OldTVfanatic dmagoon 16 months ago
No, they’re not.
Barry22 16 months ago
Does anybody remember a made for tv movie that came out in the 80s, I think it was called High School USA. It starred Michale I Fox, Todd Bridges, Anthony Edwards and maybe Nancy McKeon. Several classic Tv stars made cameos in it including Osmond.
Barry22 16 months ago
RIP. Like somebody once said, everybody knew a Eddie Haskell. One of the greatest Tv characters ever.
JoeGuenther Barry22 16 months ago
Love the episode where Beaver gets stuck in the coffee cup ruining Wally's party.
wemacauley JoeGuenther 16 months ago
So do I. That's one of my favorite episodes even to this day.
cynkgreen wemacauley 9 months ago
I'm pretty hooked on LITB, having not watched it growing up i was just a few years too young for TV yet. But sometimes I get really annoyed with Beaver always being so stupid. I mean almost always! & if not stupid, no spine to stand up to friends who talked him into doing stuff he knew he shouldn't. He even would say, no we shouldn't do that, my dad would be mad or my mom wouldn't like it, but then ended up doing it anyway! I know its just a fiction but could have given Beaver, as the star, a bit more depth of character. But in general these old shows are so refreshing, yes cleaner, simpler. I guess the state of current shows & movies really demonstrate the level to which our society has descended., & become so decadent! Ugh.
Susan00100 cynkgreen 1 month ago
Beaver's innocence (call it "stupidity" if you want) were cute in the early years. But as the series progressed and the character grew into adolescence, the writers and producers still had him acting like a 6-year old! By then, it wasn't cute or funny.
Irish 16 months ago
Every school in America had an "Eddie Haskell." Rest in peace Ken.
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