R.I.P. Tom Kennedy, hard-working game show host of the 1970s and '80s

He hosted Password, Name That Tune and The Price Is Right.

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Image: The Everett Collection

It was impossible to watch television throughout the 1970s and 1980s without coming across the small face of Tom Kennedy. Alongside legends like Bob Eubanks, Bill Cullen and Chuck Woolery, Kennedy was a go-to game show host. The Kentucky native emceed popular series such as Name That Tune, Password Plus and The Price Is Right.

In total, Kennedy held the microphone and cards for 16 different game shows. And that just counts the ones that made it to the airwaves. He also hosted unsold pilots for titles like Eavesdroppers and Babble.

Kennedy's career truly kicked off in the late 1950s as the host of ABC's Dr. I.Q., considered the first interactive game show with viewers calling in over the telephone from home. 

The host's fame would skyrocket in the Seventies, as he headlined hits like It's Your Bet and Split Second. From 1974–81, Kennedy helmed the primetime evening edition of the long-running musical game Name That Tune (he also briefly hosted the daytime version in 1977). From 1985–86, he also hosted a syndicated version of The Price is Right.

In 1980, Kennedy took over Password from longtime host Allen Ludden. With his tinted glasses, shaggy sideburns and tan suits, Kennedy embodied the stereotypical Seventies game show host look.

His elder brother, Jack Narz, who kept his birth name, also hosted several game shows, including Concentration and Beat the Clock.

On October 7, Kennedy passed away in his Oxnard, California, home. He was 93.

 
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cperrynaples 14 days ago
Saw Tom's Cannon last night and his part was noteworthy! He was a talk show host interviewing Cannon's client, a writer clearly based on Clifford Irving! His partner died as a result of a poison pill! Hard Trivia: On which '70's talk show did a guest actually die AND what was ironic about his death?
MarkSpeck cperrynaples 11 days ago
The Dick Cavett Show, to answer the first part of the question. Don't think I can answer the other part.
cperrynaples MarkSpeck 9 days ago
OK, this happened on June 7th, 1971! Cavett's guest was J I Rodale, an organic vegetarian! He had a heart attack and Cavett assumed he took a nap! His last words to Rodale were "Are we boring you, sir? Paramedics took him away and the interview was never broadcast!
Pilaf 14 days ago
What I remember about Tom "Kennedy" is his shaming his brother, Jack Narz, on his show. It was so needlessly cruel.
Blondie7 15 days ago

Every day during the summer I watched Days of our Lives, The Doctors, Another World, You Don't Say and The Match Game 12-3:30pm. Before a.c.
cperrynaples Blondie7 14 days ago
Well, you lived in another time zone! On the East Coast, it was 2-4:30 pm!
jacko3 15 days ago
sure .. remember him among the great game hosts .. GOD Rest his Soul & legacy...
ChrisThomas 15 days ago
Sad to hear this, Tom was one of my neighbors in Hollywood Beach CA. I hadn't seen him in a few years and even then he looked old.
mawagner 15 days ago
I thought Tom Kennedy was a very good game show host. Always friendly and upbeat. R.I.P., Tom.
JHP 15 days ago
when game shows were game shows - now they are DOPE shows
Wiseguy JHP 15 days ago
Dope or dopey? To some younger people , "dope" means good.
JHP Wiseguy 14 days ago
you are correct :)
MrsPhilHarris 16 days ago
Offhand the only one I remember is Name That Tune.
Jeremy 17 days ago
Yeah, I heard about his death this morning by accident. I was seeing a video on YouTube and there was a thumbnail next to it and it said "In Memory of Tom Kennedy" and it was an episode of The Price Is Right in which he was the host. At first, I said to the screen, very upset, "Are you telling me he's dead!?" I then went to Wikipedia, looked him up and there it was: February 27, 1927 - October 7, 2020. I couldn't believe it. He was one of those people that I wished wouldn't die too soon, but he did. This would be a lot easier for me if I had not heard of him and loved his work. I'll survive though. I survived Jim Perry's death (Card Sharks and $ale of the Century), I'll survive his.
cperrynaples 17 days ago
Believe it or not, Kennedy will be on Metv this week! An episode of Cannon with him is on Wednesday! My best acting memory of him was Hardcastle & McCormick in which he played an evil game show host!
Just got through watching that episode not that long ago. While doing so, I got an eerie feeling. Then, couple of days later, I go and turn on Buzzr. They showed a montage of Tom, and then, I thought: "He must've passed." I [unfortunately,} was correct. That explained the eerie feeling. R.I.P Tom.
Another Tom Tidbit: He guested on Beat The Clock when big brother was hosting, and if memory serves, Jack returned the favor and guested when Tom hosted Password Plus.
Jack not only played the game, he HOSTED one segment! He and Tom switched places (Tom mentioned that he did not see the puzzles in advance, so there was no problem for him to do this), and did a fantastic job for the brief moment he hosted. The clip is on YouTube.
Russ 17 days ago
I remember him mostly from being the host of "You Don't Say"
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Battlestars was another Trebek game prior to Jeopardy. If he had others in addition to the ones already mentioned, they were Canadian shows.
In honor of it's return, Buzzr is airing an SS marathon on Saturday.
"names." Perhaps instead of focusing on what brackets to use (instead of parentheses), you should investigate the proper use of apostrophes (or as you would write, "apostrophe's").
stephaniestavropoulos 17 days ago
For those of you who don't know, and would like to see the Narz Brothers in action: Buzzr has been airing Concentration {JN} M-F and Body Language {TK} Sunday nights.
stephaniestavropoulos 17 days ago
Tom Kennedy was indirectly {kinda, sorta} related to Bill Cullen. His brother Jack, was brother-in-law to Bill. Jack married the sister of Bill's wife, Anne
Yes, and would they both hosted TPIR? Cullen was the original '50's host and Kennedy did the syndicated '80's version!
15inchBlackandWhite 17 days ago
RIP. 93 is a good ride. I was always a fan of Split Second. The ending where you got a 1 in 5 chance of a car starting and if you picked the one that did you'd win it.

Come to think of it.....they were all 1970's GM models. There was probably only a 1 in 5 chance any of them were going to start anyway.
At least they didn't blow up like the Ford Pinto...LOL!!!
"only a 1 in 5 chance any of them were going to start anyway" -- You jes' so bad.....
I think the vehicle’s that we’re known to blow up on impact, were the AMC Pacer/ Gremlin & the Chevrolet Corvair. The Pinto, I guess, if hit hard enough- would too. 🤪. 🔥+ 🚒+🚑 = ☠️
Right on those models! In fact, Ralph Nader wrote about the Corvair in the book Unsafe At Any Speed!
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