Ken Osmond, Eddie Haskell on 'Leave It to Beaver,' dies

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ken Osmond, who played the two-faced teenage scoundrel Eddie Haskell on TV's “Leave It to Beaver,” died Monday, his family said.

Osmond died in Los Angeles at age 76. No indication of the cause was given.

“He was an incredibly kind and wonderful father," son Eric Osmond said in a statement. "He had his family gathered around him when he passed. He was loved and will be very missed.”

Ken Osmond's Eddie Haskell stood out among many memorable characters on the classic family sitcom “Leave it to Beaver,” which ran from 1957 to 1963 on CBS and ABC, but had a decades-long life of reruns and revivals.

Eddie was the best friend of Tony Dow's Wally Cleaver, big brother to Jerry Mathers' Beaver Cleaver. He constantly kissed up to adults and kicked down at his peers, usually in the same scene, and was the closest thing the wholesome show had to a villain. Viewers of all ages loved to hate him.

“He was a terrific guy, he was a terrific actor and his character is probably one that will last forever,” Dow told The Associated Press on Monday.

“He was one of the few guys on the show who really played a character and created it,” Dow added, chuckling as he mimicked the evil laugh Osmond would unleash when his character was launching one nefarious scheme or another and trying to pull Wally and his younger brother Beaver into it.

Osmond was born in Glendale, California, to a carpenter father and a mother who wanted to get him into acting. He got his first role at age 4, working in commercials and as a film extra, and got his first speaking role at 9, appearing mostly in small guest parts on TV series.

The role of Eddie in season one of “Leave It to Beaver” was also supposed to be a one-off guest appearance, but the show's producers and its audience found him so memorable he became a regular, appearing in nearly 100 of the show's 234 episodes.

Osmond returned to making guest appearances on TV shows including “The Munsters” in the late 1960s, but found he was so identified with Eddie Haskell that it was hard to land roles.

He would give up acting and become a Los Angeles police officer.

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AP Writer John Rogers contributed to this story.