Actor Ken Osmond, who played troublemaker Eddie Haskell on Leave It To Beaver, died Monday morning at his Los Angeles home. He was 76. Sources told Variety the cause of death is unknown, although Henry Lane, Osmond's former Los Angeles Police Department partner, said the classic sitcom actor suffered from respiratory issues. However, it is unclear if this health issue contributed to his death.
Osmond died surrounded by his family. His son, Eric, called him an "incredibly kind and wonderful father" who "was loved and will be very missed." Eric and his brother Christian played Osmond's on-screen sons in one of the 1980s Leave It To Beaver sequel series The New Leave It To Beaver.
Osmond was born on June 7, 1943, in Glendale, California, and appeared in small roles in movies and television shows as a child actor, beginning in the early 1950s. When he was 14 years old, Osmond began playing Eddie Haskell, the best friend of and a bad influence on Wally Cleaver, on Leave It To Beaver. The series ran from 1957 to 1963, long enough for Osmond's character to become a permanent fixture in the American lexicon. Eddie Haskell became a stereotype for the rebel teenager who was polite to adults' faces but criticized them behind their backs. He also always got his friends into trouble. Since then, similar rebellious characters have been unavoidable in family sitcoms.
After Leave It To Beaver ended, Osmond struggled to fight typecasting and left Hollywood behind in 1970. He joined the LAPD and even grew a mustache so he would be unrecognizable. Osmond returned to acting in 1983 for Still the Beaver, which caught viewers up on the lives of the Cleaver children as adults. The following year, he returned to play Eddie Haskell on The Disney Channel's The New Leave It To Beaver. During the 1990s, Osmond often answered the call when asked to play Eddie Haskell on other shows, appearing in Parker Lewis Can't Lose and Hi Honey, I'm Home. He played the part one final time in the 1997 movie Leave It To Beaver.
Osmond retired from the LAPD in 1988, eight years after he survived a shooting during a chase with a suspected car thief. In 2007, he sued the Screen actors Guild for taking in foreign royalties without explaining so in collection agreements and settled three years later. Osmond is survived by his wife Sandra and sons Christian and Eric.