Ken Osmond Dies: Actor Who Played Eddie Haskell On ‘Leave It To Beaver’ Was 76Deadline
“He was an incredibly kind and wonderful father,” his son, Eric, said in a statement. “He had his family gathered around him when he passed. He was loved and will be very missed.”
The impact of his most famous performance can be measured by the fact that, for those of us of a certain age, if someone is described as an “Eddie Haskell”-type, we know exactly what is meant.
Appropriately, tributes poured in from across a broad spectrum. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Osmond “created a memorable character,” and Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach cited Eddie Haskell as one of his “all-time influences.”
The Haskell character was a troublemaking friend of Wally Cleaver (Tony Dow), the older brother of Beaver (Jerry Mathers). Hugh Beaumont and Barbara Billingsley played their parents.
The actor revisited his most famous role frequently over the years in the many subsequent iterations of the show, most notably Still the Beaver, which ran from 1983-89.
Osmond also guested on such popular series Happy Days, Lassie, Petticoat Junction and The Munsters.
The actor went on to become an LAPD cop and reportedly took multiple bullets in the line of duty. He reportedly grew a mustache to be less-recognizable on the job.
Leave It to Beaver was not a big hit during its initial 1957-63 run. The series never made the year-end top 30 among primetime programs in the three-network era. It aired in six time slots on four different nights during its six seasons, moving from CBS to ABC after its first season.
In the show’s original 1957 pilot, which resurfaced three decades later, the Haskell-type character was named Frankie and was played by future SNL, The Simpsons and This Is Spinal Tap actor Harry Shearer.
Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.