Ken Osmond, the actor best known for playing Eddie Haskell on the classic sitcom Leave It to Beaver before leaving the industry to become a police officer, died Monday at his home in Los Angeles, Variety reports. He was 76.
A cause of death was not immediately available, though Osmond’s former partner in the Los Angeles Police Department said he suffered from respiratory issues. Osmond’s son Eric said in a statement, “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.”
Osmond got into acting as a child, popping up in various TV shows and movies throughout the first half of the Fifties. In 1957, as a teenager, he was cast on Leave It to Beaver as Wally Cleaver’s best friend, Eddie Haskell, a charming rascal who was always on his best behavior around adults while getting up to all sorts of no-good when they weren’t looking.
Osmond was a regular on Leave It To Beaver throughout its original run from 1957 to 1963. And though he wouldn’t be a working actor his whole life, he gamely reprised his role as Eddie in the 1983 TV movie Still the Beaver, the subsequent revival series, The New Leave it to Beaver (which ran for four seasons between 1983 and 1989) and the 1997 feature film, Leave It to Beaver.
Following Leave It to Beaver, Osmond scored occasional roles on shows like The Munsters and Lassie, though he ultimately found himself too frequently type-cast as Eddie-esque characters. In 1970, Osmond left acting and joined the LAPD, even growing a mustache so people wouldn’t recognize him. In 1980, Osmond was shot five times during a chase with a suspected car thief though was saved by his bulletproof vest. He went on disability and ultimately retired from the force in 1988.