Sad news has come in for classic television fans, as veteran game show host Tom Kennedy has passed away. The news was revealed by Kennedy's friend, Steve Beverly, with a post on Facebook. "With a heavy heart, I am sad to share the news that beloved game show host Tom Kennedy, who emceed 16 shows between 1958 and 1987, died Wednesday evening at his home in Oxnard, California," the post reads. Beverly also notes that Kennedy "had not been well in recent months," but a cause of death wasn't named. He was 93 years old.
Born in 1927, Kennedy's birth name is James Edward Narz. Because his brother, Jack Narz, was also a radio and television star, Kennedy changed his name so he'd be able to stand out on his own with his career. After spending several years working in radio, Kennedy had moved on to working as a television host by the 1950s. Finding his calling, the TV star would spend the next several decades hosting a variety of televised game shows, becoming one of classic TV's most well-known hosts.
Kennedy is particularly remembered for spending many years hosting classic game shows like You Don't Say!, Split Second, and Name That Tune. After original host Allen Ludden fell ill, Kennedy also stepped in as the new host of Password Plus in the early '80s. Some of the other shows to be hosted by the veteran announcer include Dr. I.Q., The Big Game, Break the Bank, It's Your Bet, To Say the Least, Whew!, Body Language, and Wordplay. He also hosted his own talk show, The Tom Kennedy Show, in the early '70s.
Frequently, Kennedy could also be seen appearing as a panelist on other game shows that featured celebrities, such as To Tell the Truth, and Liar's Club. This culminated in Kennedy playing on several episodes of Hollywood Squares in 2003. As an actor, Kennedy has also appeared in the movie Witness and Hardcastle adn McCormick as well as the TV shows The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, Cannon, and That Girl. With a great sense of humor, Kennedy also played himself in an episode of the '90s sitcom Cybill.
Along with brother Jack, Kennedy was given the Game Show Congress' Bill Cullen Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2005. The "Dean of Game Show Hosts," Cullen was the original host of The Price Is Right and similarly worked on many other classic games shows. Additionally, he was also Narz and Kennedy's brother-in-law. Cullen passed away in 1990 at the age of 70, while Jack later died at age 85 in 2008.
Kennedy was married to Betty Gevedon for 59 years from 1952 until her death in 2011. His survivors include three children, a daughter-in-law, a granddaughter, and a sister. Our thoughts go out to the family at this difficult time. No services will be held, and anyone looking to pay tribute can make a donation in Kennedy's name to the American Cancer Society. May his legacy live on forever as he rests in peace. This information comes to us from Steve Beverly on Facebook.