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Ken Osmond died yesterday. In case you are unfamiliar with that name, he was the actor best known as Eddie Haskell on the late fifties to early sixties television sitcom Leave It to Beaver.

For the record, I’ve never seen the show, partly because my parents didn’t believe in television (much in the manner of James Thurber’s aunt, who didn’t believe in electricity) and partly because my family and I were living in Germany in those days. But as I was beginning to pursue my own career in Hollywood, I became aware of Ken Osmond when, in his second career as a Los Angeles police officer, he was shot and wounded during a pursuit.

Osmond had been a child actor and enjoyed moderate success before his iconic role as Eddie Haskell, the boy every mother in America prayed her son would not emulate. But after Leave It to Beaver, the jobs dried up, as jobs are wont to do in Hollywood. Ken Osmond had a wife and a child on the way, and no more career. He didn’t whine, he didn’t complain. He didn’t become an alcoholic or a drug addict. Instead, he got a job with the LAPD and took care of his family. That’s a good definition of manhood.

Rest in peace, Mr. Osmond.

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5 thoughts on “Manhood”

  1. Greetings JP!!

    In regards to Ken Osmond, aka Eddie Haskell, I want to thank you for your intelligent and respectful eulogy. You may know that I am a fan of all things “Simon and Simon” but I must confess that my all time favorite television show is “Leave it to Beaver” !!

    Growing up in the late fifties and early sixties my brother and I never missed an airing of “Leave it to Beaver”. We both agreed that it was probably because our child hood wasn’t bad, lets say it was a lot different from that of the wonderful show that we watched!

    Best regards and be safe,
    Ron Roberts

  2. Awww, I had not heard this. He was an actor you loved to hate; his character was so annoying. I’m glad he did not fall apart when acting dried up for him and was able to have a good life. This brings back memories…I watched ALL the reruns for years and years.

  3. I remember seeing some of the “Leave it to Beaver” reruns when I was a kid. Eddie Haskell was Wally Beaver’s near do well friend. He always managed to annoy Beaver’s father.

  4. Darn–I missed this in the news. I fondly remember Ken as Eddie Haskell; we did have electricity and TV. Eddie was obsequious personified and Ken played him well. The fact that he was married 50 years is another testament to manhood. Rest in peace, indeed.

  5. I had the pleasure of meeting him about ten years ago at a banquet for a local first responders’ charity. In the short time I spoke with him, I found him to be a laid-back, classy guy. Rest easy, sir. We have the watch.

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