American actor Ken Osmond passed away on Monday at the age of 76. The small screen star, best known for his role playing naughty neighbourhood kid Eddie Haskell in Leave It to Beaver, died at home in Los Angeles, according to Variety magazine.
While the cause of death has not yet been confirmed, Osmond is reported to have died with his loved ones by his side. He is survived by wife Sandra and sons Eric and Christian.
“He was an incredibly kind and wonderful father,” Eric told the publication. “He had his family gathered around him when he passed. He was loved and will be very missed.”
Tributes poured in for Osmond after the news broke, with his former Leave It to Beaver co-star Jerry Mathers – who played title character Theodore ‘the Beaver’ Cleaver – writing: “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 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
Ken began his career as a child actor, landing his first role in 1953 movie So Big, starring Jane Wyman and Sterling Hayden. He went on to feature in a string of 1950s flicks, such as Good Morning, Miss Dove and Everything But the Truth, before moving into television. Before landing his iconic role as troublemaker Eddie Haskell in 1957, Osmond also appeared in the likes of The Loretta Young Show, Colt. 45, Lassie and Wagon Train.
Following the success of Leave It to Beaver, Osmond returned to the franchise for 1983 TV movie Still the Beaver, television series The New Leave It to Beaver (1883-89) and 1997 feature film Leave It to Beaver. His CV also includes appearances on hit shows such as Happy Days, The Munsters and Petticoat Junction.
While both of Osmond’s sons starred alongside their father in the 1980s revival of the hit franchise The New Leave It to Beaver, playing Eddie’s kids Freddie and Eddie Jr (aka ‘Bomber’).
In 1970, Osmond joined the Los Angeles Police Department. However he retired from the force in 1988, having been put on disability after being shot in the line of duty in 1980.
Following his passing, the LAPD Rampart division said: “Our thoughts are with the family of former #LAPD officer, and TV star, Ken Osmond. He was best known for his role as Eddie Haskell on Leave It to Beaver, but Osmond was also a #LAPD Officer for 18 years. Thanks for both serving and entertaining us.”