Ken Osmond

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Ken Osmond
Ken Osmond 1962.jpg
Osmond, circa 1962
BornKenneth Charles Osmond
(1943-06-07) June 7, 1943 (age 70)
Glendale, California U.S.A.
OccupationActor, police officer
Years active1953–1997 (actor)
1970–1988 (police officer)
Spouse(s)
  • Sandra Purdy (1969–present)
Children
  • Eric Osmond (b. 1971)
  • Christian Osmond (b. 1974)
 
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Ken Osmond
Ken Osmond 1962.jpg
Osmond, circa 1962
BornKenneth Charles Osmond
(1943-06-07) June 7, 1943 (age 70)
Glendale, California U.S.A.
OccupationActor, police officer
Years active1953–1997 (actor)
1970–1988 (police officer)
Spouse(s)
  • Sandra Purdy (1969–present)
Children
  • Eric Osmond (b. 1971)
  • Christian Osmond (b. 1974)

Kenneth Charles "Ken" Osmond (born June 7, 1943) is an American actor. Beginning a prolific career as a child actor at the age of four, Osmond is best known for his iconic role as Eddie Haskell on the 1950s television situation comedy Leave It to Beaver, and for reprising the role on the 1980s revival series The New Leave It to Beaver.

Early life[edit]

Osmond was born on June 7, 1943 in Glendale, California.[1][2] His father was a carpenter and his mother, a home-maker, whom Osmond has described as "a typical movie mother", with ambitions to get him and his brother, Dayton, into show business.[2][3] Osmond began going on professional auditions at the age of four, and was soon landing work in commercials.[2] Soon, Mrs. Osmond began taking him and his brother to lessons every day after school, where he studied dance, drama, diction, dialects, martial arts, and equestrian riding.[2]

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Osmond first broke into feature films working as an extra, the first job he remembers being an appearance in the film Plymouth Adventure with Spencer Tracy and Gene Tierney.[2] He landed his first speaking role at the age of 9, with a small role in the film So Big starring Jane Wyman and Sterling Hayden.[2] In the following years, he continued to appear in small roles in feature films such as Good Morning Miss Dove, and Everything But the Truth, as well as making numerous guest-starring appearances on episodic television series, including Lassie, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Fury, Circus Boy, and The Loretta Young Show.[2][3]

In 1959, Osmond played 16-year-old "Tommy" in the episode "Dead Aim" of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston. John Doucette was cast as the bounty hunter Lou Gore, and Bing Russell portrayed Jed Coy in the episode.[4]

Leave it to Beaver[edit]

In the fall of 1957, 14-year-old Osmond was called into a typical "cattle call" audition to read for the role for which he would become most identified, that of Wally Cleaver's best (and worst) friend, Eddie Haskell, on the family sitcom Leave It To Beaver.[2][3] After a series of call-backs to narrow down the field, Osmond eventually landed the role.[2] The character of Eddie was originally intended to be a "one shot" guest appearance, but those involved with the show were impressed with Osmond's portrayal, and Eddie Haskell would eventually become one of the most memorable characters on the series throughout its entire six season run.[2][3]

Osmond's portrayal of Eddie Haskell became a cultural reference, recognized as an archetype for the "behind-your-back" rebel. Teenager Eddie Haskell would be polite and obsequious to grownups, but derided adults' social conventions behind their backs. He was constantly trying to involve his friends in activities that would get them into trouble. Eddie was the kind of friend parents such as Ward and June Cleaver wish their children would limit association with, but need to have to gain learning experiences. Even today, the term "Eddie Haskell" is known to refer to an insincere flatterer or a suck-up.[5]

Typecast[edit]

After Leave it to Beaver ended in 1963, Osmond continued to make occasional appearances on such television series as CBS's Petticoat Junction, The Munsters, and a return appearance on Lassie. He was cast in the feature films C'mon Let's Live a Little, and With Six You Get Eggroll. However, he found himself typecast as "Eddie Haskell" and had difficulty finding steady work.[2][3] In 2008, Osmond told radio host Stu Shostak in a radio interview, "I was very much typecast. It's a death sentence. In Hollywood you get typecast. I'm not complaining because Eddie's been too good to me, but I found work hard to come by. In 1968, I bought my first house, in '69 I got married, and we were going to start a family and I needed a job, so I went out and signed up for the LAPD."[2]

Law enforcement[edit]

In 1970, Osmond joined the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and grew a mustache which helped to secure his anonymity.[2][6][7] During his time on the force he worked in vice and narcotics and as a motorcycle officer.[8][9] On September 20, 1980, Osmond was hit by three bullets while in a foot chase with a suspected car thief.[3][10][11] He was protected from two of the bullets by his bulletproof vest, with the third bullet ricocheting off of his belt buckle.[3][10][11][12] Osmond was placed on disability and eventually retired from the force in 1988.[11] The shooting was later dramatized in a November 1992 episode of the CBS series Top Cops.[13]

Urban legends[edit]

In the early 1970s, a story was widely reported that Osmond had become rock star Alice Cooper.[5] According to Cooper, the rumor began when a college newspaper editor asked him what kind of kid he was, to which Cooper replied "I was obnoxious, disgusting, a real Eddie Haskell"; however, the story ended up reporting that Cooper was the real Eddie Haskell.[5] Cooper would later tell the 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."[5]

Another widely reported urban legend of the 1970s was that Osmond had grown up to become adult film star John Holmes.[14][15][16] The story apparently began when fan magazines falsely reported that Osmond had embarked on such a career.[17] The rumor was dispelled when a Los Angeles movie theater lit up its marquee advertising "Eddie Haskell of TV in 'Behind the Green Door' - X-rated", prompting Osmond himself, then an LAPD officer, to go into the theater to request that the manager of the theater pull the plug on the marquee.[17]

Return to acting[edit]

Osmond returned to acting in 1983 reprising his role as Eddie Haskell in the CBS made-for-television movie, Still the Beaver, which followed the adult Cleaver boys, their friends, and their families.[3][7][18] The television movie was a success and led to the revival comedy series The New Leave It to Beaver which premiered the following year.[7][19][20] The show ran for four seasons from 1984 to 1989, starting on The Disney Channel, and later moving to the TBS network.[19][21][22] On the show, Osmond played Eddie Haskell as a husband and father, while his character's two sons, Freddie Haskell and Edward "Bomber" Haskell Jr., were played by Osmond's two real-life sons, Eric Osmond and Christian Osmond, respectively.[2][21]

In 1987, Osmond was honored by the Young Artist Foundation with its Former Child Star "Lifetime Achievement" Award for his role as Eddie Haskell.[23] He continued to make television appearances throughout the 1980s and 1990s on the shows Happy Days, Rags to Riches and the television movie High School U.S.A.,[24] as well as cameo appearances in his role as Eddie Haskell on such television shows as Parker Lewis Can't Lose, and Hi Honey, I'm Home!. Osmond would once again reprise his role as Eddie Haskell in the 1997 feature film Leave It to Beaver. In the film, Osmond played Eddie Haskell, Sr., and Adam Zolotin played his son Eddie Haskell, Jr.[2]

Personal life[edit]

In 1969, Osmond married Sandra Purdy.[2][25] The couple have two sons, Eric E. Osmond (born October 8, 1971[26]) and Christian S. Osmond (born June 12, 1974[27]).[2][3][21] Since his retirement from the police force, Osmond handles rental properties in the Los Angeles area and makes occasional personal appearances at film festivals, collectors' shows and nostalgia conventions. On September 18, 2007, Osmond filed a class action lawsuit against the Screen Actors Guild, alleging that SAG had collected $8 million in foreign residuals for U.S. actors but had not distributed them to the actors.[28][29][30] In August 2011, Osmond began appearing as a celebrity spokesman for St. Joseph aspirin.[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "California Births, 1905-1995 - Kenneth Charles Osmond". FamilyTreeLegends.com. Retrieved August 25, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Stu Shostak Interview with Ken Osmond & Frank Bank". The Stu Show. March 5, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "'The Beaver' Is Returning". Herald-Journal. March 16, 1983. 
  4. ^ "Colt .45". ctva.biz. Retrieved December 22, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d Alex Ben Block (January 6, 1975). "Cooper's comedy mocks system". The Miami News. 
  6. ^ "The O'Reilly Factor Flash". BillOReilly.com. Retrieved August 25, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c "No pension for "Eddie"". The Milwaukee Journal. November 7, 1986. 
  8. ^ "TV Series Altered Lives of 'Beaver' and Brother". The Victoria Advocate. August 3, 1977. 
  9. ^ "Wally & Beaver just glad to be working". The Deseret News. February 14, 1980. 
  10. ^ a b "Ex-TV Actor Saved By Bulletproof Vest". The New York Times. September 20, 1980. 
  11. ^ a b c "Ken Osmond receives LAPD pension". Daily News of Los Angeles. June 8, 1988. 
  12. ^ Jery Buck (November 16, 1982). "'Leave it to Beaver' is 1980s cult show". The Miami News. 
  13. ^ Jon Burlingame (November 11, 1992). "'Top Cops' delves entertaining officers". The Spokesman-Review. 
  14. ^ Jim Tripoli (September 9, 1974). "John Holmes is Ken Osmond". Beaver County Times. 
  15. ^ James Brown (May 21, 1980). "'Leave it to Beaver' casts shadow over actors". Anchorage Daily News. 
  16. ^ "Viewers still love 'Beaver'". Boca Raton News. June 15, 1982. 
  17. ^ a b Marilyn and Hy Gardner (April 24, 1977). "Glad You Asked That!". Youngstown Vindicator. 
  18. ^ "Together Again". Observer-Reporter. December 13, 1982. 
  19. ^ a b "Disney Channel Brings Back Cleavers". Miami Herald. May 3, 1984. 
  20. ^ Kathy O'Malley (October 26, 1988). "Old Cast Is Family Again". Chicago Tribune. 
  21. ^ a b c Ed Bark (December 2, 1984). "Eddie Haskell's son best new (two) face on Disney's 'Beaver'". Dallas Morning News. 
  22. ^ Andrew J. Edelstein (July 13, 1986). "Cable channels plan more comedy". Gadsden Times. 
  23. ^ "9th Annual Youth In Film's Special Awards". YoungArtistAwards.org. Retrieved September 11, 2011. 
  24. ^ Jerry Buck (October 16, 1983). "Former Child Stars Meet Young Dazzlers". Youngstown Vindicator. 
  25. ^ "California Marriage Index 1960-1985 - Kenneth Charles Osmond". Ancestry.com. Retrieved September 11, 2011. 
  26. ^ "California Births, 1905-1995 - Eric E. Osmond". FamilyTreeLegends.com. Retrieved August 25, 2011. 
  27. ^ "California Births, 1905-1995 - Christian S. Osmond". FamilyTreeLegends.com. Retrieved August 25, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Ken Osmond sues SAG interview with Jamie Colby of FoxNews". YouTube.com. Retrieved 29 July 2009. 
  29. ^ Leslie Simmons (September 19, 2007). "'Beaver' actor sues SAG". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  30. ^ Dave McNary (August 24, 2011). "Thesps urge probe into SAG foreign tax revs". Variety. 
  31. ^ "St. Joseph Aspirin > Meet Ken Osmond". StJosephAspirin.com. Retrieved August 25, 2011. 

External links[edit]