Narz in 1960.
November 13, 1922|
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
|Died||October 15, 2008
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Complications of two strokes|
Game show host
|Notable credit(s)||Now You See It
Beat the Clock
John Lawrence "Jack" Narz, Jr. (November 13, 1922 – October 15, 2008) was an American television announcer and game show host. Narz was the elder brother of Tom Kennedy and the former brother-in-law of Bill Cullen. Narz eluded the infamous quiz show scandals to forge a respected hosting career.
Narz began his early career doing voice work as one of the narrators for Adventures of Superman. Narz also made appearances in local Los Angeles television and served as the announcer on one of TV's first nationally-broadcast children's shows, Space Patrol.
Narz first achieved television fame in 1952, when he was the on-camera announcer and narrator of the sitcom Life with Elizabeth starring Betty White. In 1955, as he did on radio, Narz served as the announcer-sidekick of bandleader Bob Crosby on the former's daytime TV show. That same year, he also worked as announcer on Place the Face, a game show hosted by Bill Cullen and earlier Jack Bailey. By the end of 1957, Narz's career success forced his family to relocate from southern California to the suburbs of New York City.
In January 1958, Narz began hosting his own game show, presiding over CBS's Dotto. Within a brief time the show became very popular, with Dotto running five days a week on CBS and, beginning in the summer of 1958, weekly in prime time on NBC. Dotto was later part of the quiz show scandals and was the first popular quiz show to be canceled as a result.
Narz returned to television within a short period of time after Dotto's cancellation, hosting its replacement Top Dollar (succeeding its first host, Warren Hull, as part of an arrangement made with CBS and the ad agency representing the Colgate-Palmolive Company and General Mills, with whom Narz was under contract at the time). In 1960, he guest-hosted for a month on The Price Is Right, while regular host Bill Cullen took a vacation. Later that year, he was the host of Video Village, but asked producers to let him leave the show due to personal reasons (Monty Hall succeeded him).
After relocating back to Los Angeles, Narz hosted Seven Keys, which started as a local show, but then moved to ABC (1961–1964). It later returned as a local show in L.A. until sometime in 1965. This was followed by a 13-week run on a new NBC game show entitled I'll Bet. In 1969, Narz began hosting the syndicated revival of Beat the Clock, doing so until 1972 when the show's announcer, Gene Wood, replaced him.
In 1973, Narz started hosting Concentration. It aired in syndication until 1978 and was his longest-running job as host. He also emceed Now You See It on CBS from 1974-1975. In 1979, Narz served as the announcer and an associate producer for the CBS revival of Beat the Clock which, ironically, was hosted by Monty Hall. Narz also was used as a sub-announcer for Gene Wood on the NBC version of Card Sharks. After transitioning into semi-retirement, Narz spent his time as a celebrity golfer for various charitable causes. In 1987, he hosted the California-based locally aired kids' game show You've Got to be Kidding.
While Narz and his brother Tom Kennedy (whose real name is Jim Narz) forged successful individual careers as broadcasters, they also made occasional joint appearances. Jack Narz appeared on Tom Kennedy's You Don't Say! during its NBC run, and the syndicated It's Your Bet. Tom Kennedy guest starred on Jack Narz's Beat the Clock, and Narz appeared on the Password Plus panel while Kennedy was hosting and even switched with his brother to host for half of an episode. Like his brother, Narz appeared on To Tell the Truth as a celebrity panelist.
In 2005, Narz and Kennedy were co-recipients of the Bill Cullen Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Game Show Congress. In May 2007, Narz and Kennedy received the Diamond Circle Award by the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters at a celebrity luncheon honoring Leonard Maltin.
Narz' first wife was Mary Lou Roemheld, daughter of Oscar-winning composer Heinz Roemheld and the sister of Bill Cullen's wife, Ann. They had three sons and a daughter. After their divorce, Narz married Dolores "Dodo" Vaichsner, who was a flight attendant for TWA and American Airlines for almost fifty years.
Narz died on October 15, 2008, as a result of complications of two strokes.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jack Narz.|
|Host of Beat the Clock
|Host of Concentration
Alex Trebek on Classic Concentration (1987–1991)
|Host of Now You See It
Chuck Henry in 1989