Here's why Eddie Haskell was such a jerk, according to Ken Osmond

He wasn't just a creep for the sake of it.

Every story needs a conflict, otherwise, it's not a story at all.

On Leave It to Beaver, a lot of that conflict came from Ken Osmond's character Eddie Haskell. That guy was the worst. One moment, he's being mean to Beaver, and the next, he's sweet as could be to June. If there's anything worse than a bully, it's a bully who can turn on the charm to trick your own mom into thinking he's an angel.

But, according to Osmond, Eddie wasn't just a jerk in a vacuum. The actor actually had some very good reasoning behind why his character acted that way. While some might assume Eddie was awful because the show needed a bad guy, Osmond himself preferred to look at things a bit more in-depth. In a 1961 interview with The Modesto Bee, a young Ken Osmond spoke about what made Eddie Haskell tick, and why he was always so ticked off.

"Eddie's father is always kicking him in the seta of the pants and he figures the whole world is just this way. You've got to pull angles to get ahead. You're looking for a catch in everything.

"For instance, I had a line in a show about my pal Wally going out with a rich girl and I said, 'My dad told me you have to get to know important people so that later you can use them.'"

Well, that's Eddie alright. 

It was Osmond's insight into Haskell's worldview that made the character so believable, and so believably detestable. Regardless of how he was written in the scripts, Ken Osmond made Eddie Haskell the guy you loved to hate.

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17 Comments

obectionoverruled 5 months ago
The writers of Leave It to Beaver had the American post-war family psyche down to a tee. The ruling temperate dad, a spacy house mom whose world has been contained withing 4 walls for most of her sheltered life, a straight-laced older brother who always gets the pretty girl and the letter sweater and the little brother who takes it all in, one crazy day after another. The coterie of friends and school chums who plot devious ways to aggravate teachers, principals and neighbors covers the bases: Eddie the two faced obnoxious pal, Judy the class snitch, Lumpy the dope
and best of all the perpetually hungry and eternally chubby Larry Mondello who’s first instincts are for trouble and more snacks, whichever comes first. I love this show - the scripts, the plots, the characters and the fifties-style morality lessons that Ward imparts each episode. So like my childhood. My dad and mom could have been cast in this series and viewers would have been none the worse for it.
SparkleMotion 6 months ago
Sometimes Eddie's good side came out though. Like when he pretended to not be able to go to the dance that June pushed Wally into with "Eddie's girl" so that Wally could go and not feel bad and when Eddie was nice to Beaver when it was just the two of them around. He had a lot of funny lines too. Eddie was a great part of the show! 👍
Jon 6 months ago
The Haskells were always seen as a bad influence to Eddie based on what Eddie said about them, but when they appeared in an episode, they always seemed to be reasonable people who wanted the best for Eddie. The same can't be said for Fred Rutherford, who seemed to be a neurotic creep, especially in S6's "Lumpy's Scholarship", where he was moaning & complaining about how terrible it was for him that Lumpy lost the scholarship.
Bapa1 6 months ago
Osmond's Eddie was a great character. Everybody knew a "Eddie Haskell".
Runeshaper 6 months ago
Sounds like he understood the part well 👍
justjeff 6 months ago
"Eddie's father is always kicking him in the seta of the pants"... I don't know where the "seta" is, but I'll betcha it sure hurt!
CANARYMETV666 6 months ago
I liked Eddy’s Character.
He livened the show up a bit and made it funny.
Sway 6 months ago
Did anyone really “hate” the Eddie Haskell character? He was so entertaining. His schemes usually backfired on him. He had a sensitivity that he tried so hard to hide. He seemed to have genuine affection for the Cleavers.
CANARYMETV666 Sway 6 months ago
That made it funny
harlow1313 6 months ago
I feel Eddie and Larry were as important to the show's success as were Wally and The Beaver. Offbeat and fleshed out characters.
LoveMETV22 harlow1313 6 months ago
Yes. Also Eddie and Larry seemed to have more interactions with Wally and Beaver than some of the other supporting characters,( Lumpy, Gilbert and a few others), they added to the story line just not as significantly. An entertaining series.
MrsPhilHarris harlow1313 6 months ago
My two favourite characters on LITB.
LoveMETV22 6 months ago

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Always enjoy articles about "LITB". One thing I wish they had done more of was other characters addressing Eddie with nicknames.

Eddie seems to have the majority of that with the Sam's, Mortimer's, Etc....
Pacificsun 6 months ago
He would've been 20 yrs. two years later than the interview. Very insightful, and shows the effort the best of these actors, even at that age, put into their roles. You wonder if there's ever any coaching, or how much, before doing these interviews, which need to represent the Show very well. My hunch is, what made Eddie Haskell so good. Was the same thing that made Ken Osmond such a quick study!!
RobertK 6 months ago
Kinda similar to life. I think everyone comes across at least one or more "Eddie Haskells" through our life journey...
FrankensteinLover 6 months ago
I love eddie and he made the show that much more funny. Wish I could have met him, was lucky enough to meet Jerry & Tony.
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