Ken Osmond might've played Eddie Haskell, but he was more like Ward in real life

''My life is much closer to Ward Cleaver's,'' the actor said.

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What would Leave It to Beaver be like without Wally's best bud, Eddie Haskell? It's a good thing we'll never know because Ken Osmond took the recurring role and made it one of television's most witty characters. Sometimes actors share similarities with their characters, and other times they portray a completely different person.

For Ken Osmond, he was far from Eddie Haskell in real life, but he did share similar traits with one of the leading cast roles: Ward Cleaver. The man of the Cleaver house, Ward, was played by Hugh Beaumont and was a loving father who wanted the best for his family. Yet, he also didn't mind being strict with his sons if needed.

In an interview with The Kansas City Star in 1987, Osmond gave a little insight into his life and why he didn't mind playing a role that some people hated. "My life is much closer to Ward Cleaver's," the actor began. "I'm very domestic, and I'm still in my first marriage. Sandi and I are going on 18 years now."

It's uncertain if or why some critics thought Osmond would grow up and be exactly like his character, but that wasn't the case. Despite some people not liking the role, the actor always spoke fondly of the fast-talking fictional teen.

"The character developed over a period of six years," he said. "If people don't hate me, then I'm not doing my job. Everybody knows an Eddie. There was one on your block."

Viewers got a chance to see the fatherly side of Eddie Haskell on The New Leave It to Beaver, which shows the once young boy all grown up and as a parent. On the show, Osmond's real son played the role of Haskell's son Freddie. To prepare the young boy for the role, Osmond taught him everything he knew - even the Haskell laugh.

"We have a lot of tapes of the old Beaver shows, and we watched them," he added. "I coached him. I taught him the Haskell cackle and all, and after he survived six or seven more interviews, he got the part."

On set, Osmond viewed his son as just another actor for good reasons. "On the set, I totally divorced him as my son," the actor revealed. "That makes it easier for both of us to handle, professionally and emotionally."

It sounds like something Ward Cleaver would've done.

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Nala92129 18 months ago
He made Eddie a 3 dimensional character. The way he played the Eddie character could make you feel exasperated, yet sympathetic in the same episode. Interesting that the young actors on the show grew up to be productive, moral family men.
grogan81 18 months ago
He was great as Eddie. I don’t think anyone else could have played that role.
ZackZombro 18 months ago
I found this book, "The World Famous Beaverpedia" spoken of in the "Leave it to Beaver Fan Club" Facebook group and in it, the author speaks about how Ken Osmond was a very good actor because he was nothing like his character. The author even mentions Barbara Billingsley talking about his saying grace for a meal when she went to his house for a family dinner.

Barry22 18 months ago
Actually, both his sons appeared on The New Leave It To Beaver.
BrianThetubewatcher 18 months ago
Hi MeTv. That’s a lovely web site you have on. Are Wallace and Theodore here?
"Oh, a wise guy, eh!" [smacks your face, as Moe would have done]
Pacificsun 18 months ago
They should do a Quiz on the scenes in which the Cleaver adults came closest to telling Eddie off, or at least discouraging him from Pal'ing around with Wally.

IMO, the were worried the worst about Eddie's influence when he moved out from home and into the Boarding House. Pretty bad too, when Eddie boasted he had a job on the Fishing Boat for a Summer.
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 18 months ago
Agree: Yes that would be a fun Story or Quiz- here's a quick clip from the TODAY Show, with a remembrance of our good friend Eddie.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 18 months ago
This one's nice! Thank you. I didn't come across many in the day, but the headline.
Michael 18 months ago
Wasn't he one of the Osmonds? I think I first saw them on an Andy Williams Christmas special.
cperrynaples Michael 18 months ago
No, and he wasn't a porn star BUT he was a police officer!
And Jerry wasn’t killed in Vietnam.
Big3Fan Michael 18 months ago
And he wasn't Alice Cooper.
A shame he wasn't a porn star. He then could have arrested his alter ego for being obscene!
PierreKhoury cperrynaples 17 months ago
I always heard it was Tony Dow that was mistaken for Alice Cooper.
frenchman71 18 months ago
He played the role of Eddie to perfection. He was the kid you loved to hate. And I think of all the times Wally wanted to clean his clock. But Ken Osmond was to be thanked and commended for being an LAPD officer in real life. And I think he was wounded on duty.
MadMadMadWorld frenchman71 18 months ago
Almost killed! I read his belt buckle (?) deflected the bullet, and that the buckle was below his bullet-proof vest he wore. Very close call. He received a disability pension for his suffering. What an opposite Eddie Haskell he was in real life! I'm sure he took quite a ribbing from his fellow officers when they found out 'Eddie' was Ken. The cast of LITB always said he was the best actor of all of them! A very talented man, to say the least! R.I.P. Ken Osmond.
LoveMETV22 18 months ago
I wonder. What did Ward say to Eddie in the particular scene used as a photo for this story?
Sway 18 months ago
Hey Sam! Did anyone really hate the Eddie character? He was a fun character. Most of the time he was his own worst enemy. Some of the best episodes were with Eddie in them.
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CoreyC ncadams27 18 months ago
Unlike Larry Mondello Gilbert's jokes are cruel especially the yearbook picture.
MadMadMadWorld LoveMETV22 18 months ago
If Eddie heard you say 'hunk' he would have flipped or gone ape!
"What did I tell you about saying, 'flip' and 'ape'? --hilarious line by June Cleaver to Wally. One of the funniest, best-remembered lines in the LITB episodes! So many good lines by the actors at various times.
"I don't want my sister seeing me 'get it' " [hit] --Larry Mondello, played by the marvelous Robert 'Rusty' Stevens (1957-60). LITB lost a lot of fun when he left the series, as he got lonely and missed being a regular kid when he was placed under contract; the producers loved him so much they did that for him. Now 74, a little bit younger (Nov. 25, 1948) by almost 6 months than Jerry Mathers (June 1, '48; "Beaver").
I believe the closer quote by June was, "What did I tell you about using words like 'flip' and 'ape'? --June Cleaver to Wally
PierreKhoury CoreyC 17 months ago
Gilbert always reminded me of a younger version of Eddie Haskell.
Andybandit 18 months ago
Ken osmond is a good actor. He was very good in LITB.
McGillahooala 18 months ago
Eddie Haskell is one of television’s greatest characters.
jeopardyhead McGillahooala 18 months ago
TV GUIDE agreed with you roughly 25 years ago.
FrankensteinLover 18 months ago
He nailed the Role of Eddie, He was so funny and was a Perfect Addition to the Show.
He was "only" in 96 of the 234 episodes between 1957-63. But many of them were either centered around his friendship with Wally, or as a walk-on couple of minutes bit with Wally or the Beav. His sometimes helping the Beav, in contrast to his usual self-centered self was memorable, but if the writers did that too much, it would ruin his hilarious and remarkably funny gag as so many fans and even non-fans, know about his characterization. He may be almost as well-remembered as Beav, Wally, and their parents; so unique was him. He does remind me of the later Louie de Palma (Danny DeVito) on "Taxi." That is the closest comparison I immediately came up with. If you saw Taxi, you know how Louie was! Very self-centered, just as Eddie was! Two very funny characters in tv history, with Louie just might be far worse than scheming Eddie ever could be! Remember when Louie stuck his eye in the hole leading to the women's bathroom, and saw Elaine? She poked his eye, and that episode was one of the funniest in the Taxi episode list!
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