Tom Kennedy (television host)

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Tom Kennedy
Tom Kennedy game show host
Tom Kennedy in the 1960s
James Edward Narz[1]

(1927-02-26)February 26, 1927
DiedOctober 7, 2020(2020-10-07) (aged 93)
OccupationGame show host
Years active1958–1989
Notable credit(s)You Don't Say! (1963–69, 1975)
Name That Tune (1974–1981)
Whew! (1979–1980)
Password Plus (1980–1982)
Body Language (1984–1986)
The Price Is Right (1985–1986, nighttime)
Wordplay (1986–1987)
Betty Gevedon
(m. 1952; died 2011)
RelativesJack Narz (brother)

James Edward Narz (February 26, 1927 – October 7, 2020), known professionally as Tom Kennedy, was an American television host best known for his work in game shows.[1] Game shows Kennedy hosted included Password Plus, Split Second, Name That Tune, and You Don't Say!

Early years[edit]

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Kennedy was the son of John Lawrence Narz Sr., and the younger brother of host Jack Narz (1922–2008), whose son, David, related about his uncle's name change that the brothers wanted to avoid the perceived conflict of having two announcers with the same last name promoting competing products. "After a lunch meeting with his agent," he said, "... he emerged as Tom Kennedy."[3]

Kennedy attended the University of Missouri and the University of Kentucky.[4]

Kennedy did TV commercial spots for Regal Beer on Ozark Jubilee (later Jubilee USA), an ABC series which ran from 1955-60. He introduced himself as Jim Narz in the commercials.[5]


While attending the University of Missouri, Kennedy worked at KFRU in Columbia, Missouri. While in Lexington, Kentucky, he worked at WKLX. After moving to Los Angeles, he worked for five years at KPOL and had a part-time job at KGIL.[4]


Kennedy's biggest hit series were You Don't Say! which aired on NBC from 1963 to 1969, and on ABC in 1975; Split Second (1972–75); Name That Tune (1974–81); and Password Plus, which he hosted from 1980 to 1982 following the illness (and later death) of original host Allen Ludden. His other hosting credits include The Big Game (1958), Dr. I.Q. (1958–59), It's Your Bet (1971–72), Break the Bank (1976), 50 Grand Slam (1976), To Say the Least (1977–78), Whew! (1979–80), Body Language (1984–86), a syndicated nighttime version of The Price Is Right (1985–86) and Wordplay (1986–87).[citation needed] He briefly hosted a talk show, The Real Tom Kennedy Show, in the early 1970s, and appeared as a guest panelist on To Tell the Truth, Hollywood Squares, Liar's Club and other game shows.[citation needed] As an actor, he made guest appearances on such shows as The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Cannon and Hardcastle and McCormick.[citation needed]

Retirement and death[edit]

Kennedy retired in 1989 after several game show pilots produced by his production company failed to sell. In 2003, he appeared on Hollywood Squares during "Game Show Week Part 2".[citation needed]

Kennedy died on October 7, 2020, at the age of 93. His cause of death is unknown,[6] though it was known that he "had been ill for several months".[7][8]


In July 2005, Kennedy and his brother Jack Narz were co-recipients of the Game Show Congress's Bill Cullen Award for Lifetime Achievement.[9] Cullen was a brother-in-law of Narz and Kennedy.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Baber, David (2007). Television Game Show Hosts: Biographies of 32 Stars. McFarland & Co. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-7864-2926-4. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  2. ^ Vogt, Dustin (11 October 2020). "Louisville native, TV host Tom Kennedy dies at 93". WAVE 3 News.
  3. ^ Leszczak, Bob (2015). From Small Screen to Vinyl: A Guide to Television Stars Who Made Records, 1950–2000. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 242–43. ISBN 978-1-4422-4274-6. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b Baber, David (14 June 2015). Television Game Show Hosts: Biographies of 32 Stars. McFarland. pp. 133–34. ISBN 978-1-4766-0480-0. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  5. ^ Ozark Jubilee March 26, 1955 Segment 1. Ozark Jubilee. 26 March 1955. Event occurs at 7:53.
  6. ^ Berman, Marc. "Game Show Host Tom Kennedy Dies At 93". Forbes. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  7. ^ "'Name That Tune' Game Show Host Tom Kennedy Dead at 93". TMZ. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  8. ^ "Tom Kennedy, Genial Journeyman of TV Game Shows, Dies at 93". The New York Times. 13 October 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  9. ^ "News From ME – Mark Evanier's blog". Retrieved 12 October 2020.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Jack Barry
Clark Race
Host of You Don't Say!
1963–1969, 1975
Title next held by
Clark Race
Jim Peck
New show Host of Split Second
Title next held by
Monty Hall
Preceded by Host of Name That Tune
Title next held by
Jim Lange
Preceded by Host of Password Plus
Title next held by
Bert Convy
as Host of Super Password
Title last held by
Bobby Van
as Host of Showoffs
Host of Body Language
Show cancelled
Preceded by Host of The Price Is Right
(syndicated edition)

Title next held by
Doug Davidson
as Host of The New Price Is Right