‘Leave it to Beaver’: Why Ken Osmond Called Portrayal of Eddie Haskell ‘Just Another Role’

by Joe Rutland
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Actor Ken Osmond, who cemented himself in TV history by playing Eddie Haskell on “Leave it to Beaver,” didn’t think much of the role.

To him, it was just another opportunity in the world of show business.

“It was just another acting job and I did it the best I could and it just worked out,” Osmond said in a 2014 interview with The Beach Reporter.

“It was not supposed to be a recurring role when I did the first show, but apparently there was good feedback and the producers liked the character.”

Positive Feedback Kept Osmond On ‘Leave it to Beaver’

Good feedback indeed. Fans of the show found themselves intrigued with this character who could one minute be picking on the Beaver. Then, give old Eddie another minute on “Leave it to Beaver” when Mrs. Cleaver showed up and charm would ooze out of him. Haskell actually was a friend of Beaver’s older brother, Wally.

Osmond joined the Los Angeles Police Department after leaving the entertainment industry. He died on May 18, 2020.

Jerry Mathers, of course, played Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver. Tony Dow played Wally Cleaver. Barbara Billingsley portrayed June Cleaver on the classic TV sitcom. Billingsley died on Oct. 16, 2010.

Ken Osmond Needed Steady Paycheck For His Family

What led to Ken Osmond leaving the business? Let him tell you.

“I had a wife and I had a mortgage payment,” Osmond said in a 2015 interview with the Whine at 9 podcast. “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 “Leave it to Beaver” cast. He appeared in 96 of the show’s 234 episodes.

There is little doubt that people who watch “Leave it to Beaver” these days or in past decades will forget Eddie Haskell. Many actors and actresses probably have taken a little bit from Osmond’s portrayal and found a space for it in their work. 

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