Unlike his ''Leave It to Beaver'' character, Ken Osmond was actually a nerd

"If someone had taken dork lessons and graduated at the head of the class, Kenny was it."

Crafty, mischievous, and sly, there was no better antagonist than Leave It to Beaver's Eddie Haskell. Eddie served as the devil on Wally's, and sometimes the Beaver's, shoulders, offering the Cleaver boys a less than-advisable route out of a situation. Even still, he was able to mimic the picture of innocence in front of adults like Mrs. Cleaver, and while we're sure June didn't buy the act for a second, it didn't paint a very good picture of Mr. Haskell.

However, Eddie Haskell was simply a facade put on by Ken Osmond. While Osmond played the role of a bully so effortlessly that it seemed it almost came naturally to him, the real personality of Ken Osmond couldn't have been further from that of Eddie Haskell.

According to Frank Bank's book, Call Me Lumpy: My Leave It To Beaver Days and Other Wild Hollywood Life, Eddie wasn't a bad guy; quite the opposite. Bank, best known for playing Lumpy Rutherford, a fellow bully, wrote, "Now if you ever in life could have known a more consummate nerd, it was Kenny."

Don't be confused. This doesn't mean that there was any bad blood between the castmates. Rather, the entire cast of Leave It to Beaver seemed to be very close. Bank acknowledged, "We loved him. We used to tease him to no end...But we all loved him." 

He explained, "Kenny was a good guy. But Kenny could not figure out 'cool.' Kenny was great because when Kenny did it, you didn't want to do it. If someone had taken dork lessons and graduated at the head of the class, Kenny was it."

Nerdiness aside, Jerry Mathers, also known as the Beaver, once said that actors like Bank and Osmond had the more difficult roles to play in the series. Osmond responded, "It's very flattering to hear Jerry say that. I thank him for it. It's more the type of characters Jerry and Tony had. The characters of Wally and the Beaver don't lend themselves to raw energy and playing with the characters."

He also said, "I'd been to every acting class available before Beaver came along. So I had a lot of professional training prior to that. Before they turned the cameras on, I'd really try and be Eddie."

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7 Comments

MadMadMadWorld 15 days ago
I've been watching LITB episodes (Oct. 4, 1957-Jun. 20, 1963) for 40+ years, and it never fails to remind me how wonderful the country and world was in America's best decade ever: 1953-63. Between the ugly wars in Korea (June 1950-July 53) and then Vietnam (Mar. 1965-Jan. 73), was the peace and prosperity everyone desired, and got! Even the minority were making large economic gains, with the 'dollar' originally just a name for a silver coin, the coinage itself was 90% silver, and every paper dollar was convertible into gold. Which limited the Federal Reserve's paper inflating, and therefore price inflation was so low at 1% yearly. Until the paper-inflating limit was removed on Aug. 15, 1971, starting the 'dollar' depreciating with the price spiral.
wolfman69 26 days ago
Leave It To Beaver had so many great characters, Eddie and Lumpy both among them.
Such a great show!
Sway 27 days ago
I’ve read other articles that say Ken Osmond was a really nice guy.
The Eddie Haskell character is not what I’d consider a bully.
MikefromJersey Sway 27 days ago
You are right. Eddie was a manipulator, he was too chicken to be a bully.
harlow1313 27 days ago
>"...consummate nerd, it was Kenny." I see the claim, but what evidence is offered in this article.
Runeshaper 27 days ago
That is a fun fact! Thanks for sharing, MeTV (-:
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