Jerry Mathers posted his eulogy for his Leave It to Beaver co-star Ken Osmond on Twitter on Monday. The actor had some kind words for Osmond, who died on Monday morning, according to a report by Variety. He was 76 years old.
Osmond will forever be remembered by fans and friends as the gregarious Eddie Haskell on Leave it to Beaver. In his heartfelt post on Monday, Mathers describbed Osmond as a "lifelong friend," and said he will "greatly miss" him after 63 years of friendship. "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," Mathers added, concluding: "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
Mathers played the lead role of Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver on the hit 1950s sitcom, though Osmond's role was arguably just as central to the series. Friends were heartened by the reminder that Mathers and Osmond were friends in real life as well, and that their friendship continued up until this day.
Osmond reportedly died at home in Los Angeles, California on Monday, surrounded by family members. So far, the cause of his death has not been made public, though his former partner at the L.A. Police Department, Henry Lane, told reporters that he had suffered from respiratory issues. "He was an incredibly kind and wonderful father," Osmond's son Eric said. "He had his family gathered around him when he passed. He was loved and will be very missed."
Osmond played a snarky teenager on Leave It to Beaver — pandering to adults when they were present and then mocking them behind their backs. He tried to continue his acting career after the series concluded, but he reportedly felt that he had been typecast into characters similar to Eddie Haskell.
In 1970, Osmond joined the L.A. Police Department rather than pursuing the entertainment industry. He even grew a mustache in order to be less recognizable, according to Variety. Osmond was shot in the line of duty in 1980, but a bulletproof vest saved his life. He retired from the force in 1988 with disability benefits.
Osmond married Sandra Purdy in 1969. Together they had two sons, Eric and Christian, who played his fictional sons in later revivals of Leave It to Beaver. In the final decades of his life, Osmond made frequent appearances at conventions and film festivals, while also managing rental properties in Los Angeles County. He is survived by his wife and two sons.