Actor Ken Osmond, who played the legendary slimy but likable Eddie Haskell on TV's "Leave It to Beaver," has died in Los Angeles at 76.
His family did not give a cause of death, but his partner at the Los Angeles police department with whom Osmond worked after show business, said he had suffered from respiratory problems.
"Leave It to Beaver" was a sitcom about a young boy nicknamed Beaver, and his older brother, Wally. It ran from 1957 until 1963 and it stood out from most early TV comedies for its realism and avoiding outlandish situations – the kids talked like real kids and their parents sometimes lost their patience over poor schoolwork and bad behavior.
Osmond portrayed Wally's friend Eddie Haskell – a curly-haired wise guy who was overly polite and deferential to adults, but the moment they turned away, he was insulting, inconsiderate and egocentric. He bullied Beaver and tried to drag Wally into schemes. But he was ultimately harmless and always wound up the loser. Audiences loved the character because everyone knew an Eddie Haskell in real life.
Osmond tried to continue his acting career after "Leave It to Beaver" ended, but was frustrated at being typecast as a bad guy and eventually gave up show business.
He became a Los Angeles police officer in 1970 and made headlines when he was shot in the chest during a chase in 1980 and survived thanks to a bulletproof vest.
Osmond retired in 1988, but he occasionally returned to television as an older but still oily Eddie Haskell in a revived "Beaver" series.