‘Leave It to Beaver’ Star Ken Osmond Dead at 76
Ken Osmond, the actor-turned-police officer best known as Eddie Haskell on Leave It to Beaver, died on Monday (May 18). He was 76 years old.
Per Variety, Osmond died at his home in Los Angeles, Calif. His cause of death is unknown, though his former Los Angeles Police Department partner, Henry Lane, noted that Osmond suffered from respiratory issues.
Born on June 7, 1943, in Glendale, Calif., Osmond began acting as a young child, after his mother enrolled both Ken and his brother Dayton in acting classes and other related courses (dance, martial arts, etc.). After working as an extra, Osmond's first speaking role came in the 1953 film So Big, based on a 1924 novel by Edna Ferber. He was nine at the time.
Osmond earned guest roles on the TV shows The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Lassie and others, before auditioning for the role of Eddie Haskell -- originally meant to be a guest spot -- in 1957. The youngster impressed showrunners, however, and became an integral part of the classic show, which ran for six seasons and 234 episodes.
Osmond was a member of the United States Army Reserve during the final two years of Leave It to Beaver filming, per the Beach Reporter, and continued to act after the show ended in 1963, but admits he was typecast. "I had a few minor parts here and there," he said in 2014, "but nothing that's going to sustain life and a salary."
In 1970, Osmond joined the LAPD, where he served for nearly two decades. He was shot in a 1980 chase by a suspected car thief, and his bulletproof vest saved his life. He retired from the department in 1988, after being put on disability.
In 1983, Osmond revived his role as Haskell in the TV movie Still the Beaver and the series The New Leave It to Beaver; he also portrayed Haskell in the 1994 feature film Leave It to Beaver. In the '80s TV series, Osmond's son Christian and Eric played Haskell's kids.
“He was an incredibly kind and wonderful father,” Eric shared upon his father's death. “He had his family gathered around him when he passed. He was loved and will be very missed.”
In addition to his two sons, Osmond is survived by his wife Sandra. The two had been married since 1969.
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