The actor portrayed TV’s classic smart-mouthed sycophant on the original series and later revival.
Ken Osmond, who found fame in the series Leave It to Beaver, has died, a representative for the actor confirmed to EW. No cause of death has been released. He was 76.
“He was an incredibly kind and wonderful father,” his son Eric E. Osmond said in a statement. “He had his family gathered around him when he passed. He was loved and will be very missed.”
Osmond portrayed the scheming Eddie Haskell on the black-and-white sitcom, which ran from 1957 to 1963. The character famously got the show’s naive protagonist Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver (Jerry Mathers) and brother Wally (Tony Dow) caught up in his mischief while maintaining a talent for sucking up to their parents Ward and June Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont and Barbara Billingsley).
During the show’s final seasons, the Glendale, Calif., native served his country as an armorer in the United States Army Reserve.
Finding himself typecast after the show ended, Osmond grew a mustache and joined the Los Angeles Police Department as a motorcycle officer. In 1980, Osmond was struck by five bullets while chasing a suspected car thief but his life was saved thanks to his bulletproof vest. He retired from the force in 1988.
“The Los Angeles Police Department sends its deepest condolences to the Osmond family. Ken may have been a famous TV star as Eddie Haskell on Leave it to Beaver, but his real-life role as Los Angeles Police Officer was where he made his biggest impact,” Chief of Police Michel Moore said in a statement. “After his successful run on one of the most popular shows of all time, he chose to protect and to serve the residents of Los Angeles, and I’m proud to have been able to call him a law enforcement partner. He will be missed.”
When Osmond originally accepted the role at the age of 14, it was only meant to be as a guest star appearance, but producers were impressed by his acting chops. He portrayed Eddie Haskell for the show’s six seasons and returned to reprise his role in the 1980s revival The New Leave It to Beaver, the CBS made-for-TV movie Still the Beaver in 1983, and once more with the cast in the 1997 big screen adaptation Leave It to Beaver. He also played the character in cameos on Parker Lewis Can’t Lose and Hi Honey, I’m Home!
Watch Osmond in a clip from Leave it to Beaver below: