Leave it to Beaver fans, imagine you’re driving in Los Angeles and Eddie Haskell pulls you over.
You’d immediately wonder if you should fake sickening sincerity or be all snarky. Because Eddie Haskell could pull off either, depending on whether he was talking to Mrs. Cleaver or Wally and the Beave.
Why are we talking about a cop in a conversation about Leave it to Beaver? Because Ken Osmond, the actor who played two-faced Eddie Haskell, grew up to be a real, live policeman in Los Angeles. And yes, sometimes he arrested people who turned out to be fans.
“Once in a while, if I took somebody to jail and I’d get my helmet off and jacket off and everything, once in a while they would recognize me,” Osmond said. “But it was a rare thing.”
In fact, Osmond was a hero in the line of duty, while serving as a motorcycle cop on the Los Angeles Police Department for 18 years. Back in 1980, Osmond was shot three times by a suspected car thief. He eventually received a lifetime pension in 1988, per Wikipedia.
After Leave it to Beaver, Osmond Said He Needed Job to Pay the Bills. So He Became a Cop
In a 2015 interview with the Whine at 9 podcast, Osmond talked about his life after Leave it to Beaver.
“I had a wife and I had a mortgage payment,” Osmond said. “And frankly I needed a job. And the city offered me a pretty good one with a regular paycheck.”
He also added: “I think all kids want to be either a policeman or a cowboy right? I couldn’t pass the test for cowboy.”
Osmond was 14 when he joined the cast of Leave it to Beaver. Eddie Haskell was supposed to be a one-episode gig, playing Wally’s friend. But Osmond played the part so well that he became a reoccurring character. He appeared in 96 of the 234 episodes. He was either giving Beaver grief or sucking up to Beaver’s parents.
The show saw a 1980s renewal. It was called The New Leave It to Beaver. Eddie Haskell was married on the show. And Osmond’s real-life sons Eric and Christian played Eddie’s kids, Freddie and Edward Jr.
Jerry Mathers Called Eddie “Poster Child for Sneaky Kids”
Jerry Mathers, who starred as Beaver, wrote the foreword for Haskell’s book in 2014. Osmond titled the book Eddie: The Life and Times of America’s Preeminent Bad Boy.
“The poster child for sneaky, rotten kids everywhere” Mathers wrote of Eddie. “He was the reference point for cautious mothers to warn their children about. And everyone in America knew an Eddie Haskell at some point in his or her lives.”
Osmond died last May at age 76. Leave it to Beaver fans mourned his passing. But so did the LAPD. Chief Michel Moore told the Hollywood Reporter:
“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.”