Ken Osmond, Who Played Eddie Haskell On ‘Leave It To Beaver,’ Dies At 76
Ken Osmond, who played the infamous Eddie Haskell on Leave it to Beaver died at age 76 in his home in Shadow Hills, Los Angeles. Osmond’s death was due to complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and peripheral arterial disease.
Osmond’s character Eddie Haskell was the best friend to Wally Cleaver, Tony Dow, older brother to Theodore, “Beaver,” Cleaver, played by Jerry Mathers. Eddie was known for being two-faced as he was always polite to the Cleaver’s parents, but mean once he went to Wally and Beaver’s room.
Osmond’s son Eric announced the death of his father by telling 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.”
On Monday, Mathers tweeted about his co-star’s death. “I will greatly miss my lifelong friend Ken Osmond who I have known for over 63 years,” he said. “I have always said that he was the best actor on our show because in real life his personality was so opposite of the character that he so brilliantly portrayed. RIP dear friend.”
I will greatly miss my lifelong friend Ken Osmond who I have known for over 63 years. I have always said that he was the best actor on our show because in real life his personality was so opposite of the character that he so briliantly portrayed. RIP dear friend. #kenosmond pic.twitter.com/dnVHUEghOC
— Jerry Mathers (@TheJerryMathers) May 18, 2020
Osmond started playing Eddie when he was 14 in 1957, but returned to the character in 1983 in the update of Leave it to Beaver. However, Osmond guest starred on other shows during his time such as The Musters and Happy Days where he always played a similar character.
Osmond’s character even has a psychological syndrome named after him, entitled the “Eddie Haskell Effect.” In 2011, Dr. Ronald Riggio explained this to Psychology Today. He said, “one reason why workplace bullies may not be discovered is because they suck up to the authorities while bullying subordinates and peers behind their backs. Just like Eddie Haskell from the old ‘Leave it to Beaver’ show (who ingratiated himself to the parents while tormenting the Beaver), the bully pretends to be a model employee — but only when the boss is around.”
In 2014, Osmond co-wrote the book Eddie: The Life and Times of America’s Preeminent Bad Boy and in the forward Mathers wrote, “”everyone knows an ‘Eddie Haskell’ and that’s why the character is so easily recognized and remembered” and explained that Osmond really is not anything like his character.
Osmond went on to become a motorcycle officer for the Los Angeles Police Department.