Tony Dow is paying tribute to his longtime friend and co-star, Ken Osmond, following his death at age 76.
After it was announced that Osmond passed away at his Los Angeles home on Monday, Dow, the actor-turned-sculptor who played Wally Cleaver on the wholesome 1950s/60s comedy Leave It to Beaver, recalled his six-decade, real-life friendship with his TV best friend in a poignant Facebook post.
Dow captioned a photo of him and Osmond from a scene from the classic TV sitcom. The 75-year-old actor wrote that he first met Osmond, who played his character’s mischievous, suck-up best friend, Eddie Haskell, on the soundstage for one of the early episodes of the show. Leave it To Beaver aired on CBS, and then ABC, from 1957 to 1963.
Dow wrote that even as a young teen, he knew that “Ken was a character and a terrific actor.” He also noted that Osmond’s Eddie Haskell character remains a standout in television history.
“We were in the same school room, in a dressing room on the set, for the first year,” Dow wrote of Osmond.
“We remained friends for sixty-three years. Plenty of memories!! I’ll miss you, man.”
In comments to Dow’s post, fans recalled the duo’s on-screen and off-screen friendship.
“The relationship between Eddie and Wally was so natural….it is no surprise you were friends for over 60 years,” one fan wrote to Dow. “Eddie will live on in our hearts.”
“It’s so hard to lose a life long buddy. Ken will always be remembered for creating a true iconic TV character,” another fan wrote.
“He was terrific, the perfect pal for ‘Wally’,” a third fan added. “Heaven just got a little funnier! I would like to think Eddie is meeting up with Ward, Lumpy, and the rest that have passed on.”
Osmond played Eddie Haskell in 96 episodes of Leave it to Beaver and reprised the role in a 1980s spinoff. He clearly remained close with his castmates. In addition to his 63-year friendship with Dow, Dow was lifelong friends with series star Jerry Mathers.
Mathers, who played Beaver Cleaver on the classic sitcom, penned the foreword for Osmond’s 2014 memoir, Eddie: The Life and Times of America’s Preeminent Bad Boy. In the sweet tribute, Mathers described Osmond — who temporarily quit acting to start a career in law enforcement — as “a great actor,” “devoted family man,” “decorated police officer,” and “a wonderful friend.”
The Leave it to Beaver star also issued a statement on his longtime friend Osmond’s death.
In a poignant Facebook post, Mathers described Osmond as the best actor on Leave it to Beaver because “in real life his personality was so opposite of the character that he so brilliantly portrayed.”