Tom Kennedy (born James Edward Narz on February 26, 1927, in Louisville, Kentucky) is a television game show host who had his greatest fame in the 1960s and 1970s. He is the younger brother of the late television host Jack Narz and the brother-in-law of the late Bill Cullen, and changed his name to avoid confusion before hosting his first national show, The Big Game, in 1958.
Kennedy has hosted multiple game shows throughout his career, shows include You Don't Say ! (1963-1969, 1975), Body Language (1984-1986), Split Second (1972-1975), and Name That Tune (1974-1981).
In 1980, Tom took over the hosting reigns of Password Plus after original host Allen Ludden had to withdraw due to illness (Ludden passed away on June 9, 1981). Also around this time, Tom appeared on the November 7, 1980 episode of Wheel of Fortune during "Game Show Hosts Week" (Wink Martindale, Bill Cullen, and Jim Perry are also confirmed to have played during this week) where he competed against two regular contestants. Kennedy played the game for a lucky studio audience member and won one round for the chosen studio audience member. Tom hosted Password Plus to its end in 1982.
Price is RightEdit
On September 9, 1985, Tom made his debut on a new syndicated, nighttime version of The Price Is Right (previous versions were hosted by Dennis James and Bob Barker). Kennedy's version of the show faced increasing competition (from shows such as Jeopardy! and the nighttime version of Wheel of Fortune) and failed to earn prime access slots and often found itself in late-night time slots. After 170 episodes, the show ended it's run on May 30, 1986 (reruns continued to air until September 5).
In spite of Tom's version only running 170 episodes, it did have its share of historical moments; it featured the first-ever perfect playing of the game Switcheroo (and it well over a decade before Barker's version had one), and it featured the first time a Punch-a-Bunch contestant won more than $10,000, the highest amount on any one slip at the time, not done on the daytime show until December 2002. (In both cases, however, Barker may have mentioned it was the first time it ever happened on the show, but he was only referring to the daytime show.)
Kennedy hosted his last game show, Wordplay, from December 29, 1986 to September 4, 1987. He retired in 1989 after several game show pilots produced by his production company failed to sell. He has kept a low profile ever since. In 2003, Tom appeared on Hollywood Squares during "Game Show Week, Part 2".
In 2005, he and his brother, Jack Narz were co-recipients of the Game Show Congress' Bill Cullen Award for Lifetime Achievement and in 2007, they were presented the Diamond Circle Award of the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters at a Celebrity Luncheon honoring Leonard Maltin.