'Eddie Haskell' Is Dead at 76

Ken Osmond played notorious troublemaker on 'Leave It to Beaver'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2020 12:43 AM CDT
'Eddie Haskell' Is Dead at 76
This Dec. 10, 1982 file photo shows members of the original cast of the "Leave It To Beaver," from left, Ken Osmond, Tony Dow, Barbara Billingsley and Jerry Mathers during the filming of their TV special, "Still The Beaver," in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Wally Fong, File)

Leave It to Beaver's "Eddie Haskell" is dead at 76. Ken Osmond, who played the troublemaking best friend to Wally Cleaver, also worked as an LAPD cop for 18 years. His family gave no details on his death, but his son released a statement Monday cited by the Hollywood Reporter: "He was an incredibly kind and wonderful father. He had his family gathered around him when he passed. He was loved and will be very missed." Osmond was 14 when he got the Leave It to Beaver gig in 1957; he was only supposed to appear in a single episode, but went on to star in 96 of the original series' episodes. Toward the end of the run, he was also serving in the US Army Reserves, per NBC News. He later continued to portray Haskell in films and shows in the 1980s and 1990s, with his own two sons playing Haskell's sons at one point.

The character was so well-known for his habit of acting polite to adults, but being a bully when they weren't around, that psychologists termed such a personality the "Eddie Haskell syndrome." After the series' original run ended in 1963, Osmond found himself typecast: "I would walk into a casting office and all they could see was Eddie. I couldn't get work to save my soul." He ended up working as a helicopter pilot and studio propmaker before landing at the LAPD in 1970. He was shot multiple times on the job and was placed on disability in 1980 before retiring in 1988. He also returned to playing Haskell from 1983 to 1989, starring in a TV movie and all 101 episodes of the rebooted show, as well as in the 1990s on the sitcoms Parker Lewis Can't Lose and Hi Honey, I'm Home, plus a Leave It to Beaver feature film. (More obituary stories.)

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