'Leave It to Beaver' star Ken Osmond, once rumored to be rocker Alice Cooper and an X-rated actor, dies at 76
Ken Osmond, the 'Leave It to Beaver' actor who was popular for playing the iconic role of Eddie Haskell, passed away on May 18 at the age of 76 at his home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Shadow Hills, California, from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. His son Eric Osmond confirmed the demise of the actor and former partner with the Los Angeles Police Department in a statement provided to CNN which read, "He was an incredibly kind and wonderful father. He had his family gathered around him when he passed. He was loved and will be very missed."
Besides being known for his portrayal of the ionic character Haskell in all of the 'Leave It to Beaver' franchise, Osmond was also famous for leading a rather interesting life even after retiring from acting as he saw himself involved in a series of intriguing urban legends, which he will be remembered for many years to come. When 'Leave It to Beaver' concluded in 1970, he found himself minor roles in a couple of feature films including ‘With Six You Get Eggroll’ and ‘C’mon let’s Live a Little’ and occasionally appeared in CBS' 'Petticoat Junction' and 'The Munster' before realizing that he was typecast for his well-renowned character Eddie Haskell and found it extremely difficult to land a different role.
He eventually signed up for the LAPD, only to have a secure job in hand to run his family and even grew a mustache to remain anonymous. He served as a motorcycle officer who was struck with 5 five bullets during an encounter with a car thief. He was saved by his bullet-resistant vest. Although he bid goodbye to acting and started a career in a different field of work, his reputation, and fame from ‘Leave it to Beaver’ saw him involved in a couple of extreme myths.
While it was widely reported in 1970 that Osmond had become a rock star, Alice Cooper, following the latter's interview with a college magazine in which the rock star expressed that he wished he was the "real Eddie Haskell", another hearsay from the same year suggested that the 'Leave It to Beaver' star had embarked on a career in the adult film industry as John Holmes. Cooper put an end to the speculations by telling New Times, "It was the biggest rumor that ever came out about me. Finally, I got a T-shirt that said 'No, I am not Eddie Haskell'. But people still believed it."
Meanwhile, the rumor regarding Osmond's stint in the porn industry grew like wildfire when a Los Angeles movie theatre put up a marquee with the writing "Eddie Haskell of TV in 'Behind the Green Door' – X-rated," indicative of Osmond’s role in the adult film. The former actor, who was then an LAPD officer met with the theatre manager and requested it to be taken down. He returned to acting in 1983 by reprising his role as Haskell in CBS' television film 'Still the Beaver'.