I am sad to report that actor Ken Osmond passed away today at his home in Los Angeles. He was 76 years old.
Osmond had been a character actor on TV going back to the 1950s but his claim to fame came when he was selected for the role of Eddie Haskell on the ABC sitcom “Leave It To Beaver.”
The show ran one year on CBS from 1957-58 before moving to ABC in 1958 and running through the fall of 1963. There were 234 episodes made during this time, and Osmond appeared in most of them.
The Haskell character was one that audiences could relate to: a 1960’s teenager…. polite to adults but a wisecracker to his teenage friends and even would kind of “knock” the parents a bit, referring to fathers as “the old man.” He was best friends with Wally Cleaver (Tony Dow) but with Beaver (Jerry Mathers) he gave him a hard time or as they would to it, “giving you the business”.
After the Beaver show was cancelled by ABC, Osmond found himself a bit typecast from the Haskell character. He later he became a Los Angeles police officer from 1970-1988, then retired after being shot on the job.
I got to meet Ken a number of years ago at a national TV convention dinner when “The New Leave It To Beaver” was launched, with the premise being the kids now having kids and them being the new June and Ward Cleaver. He was so gracious when I met him….of course the station I was with at that time was his client, but nevertheless he was so nice and kind. Not easy having dinner with 100 people you just met! But he worked the crowd well.
Enjoy this interview with Ken.