A member of a game show hosting family, Tom Kennedy died Thursday at his home in Oxnard, California. He was 93.
In a career which spanned more than 30 years, Kennedy was the ever-smiling host of “Name That Tune,” “Password Plus,” “Split Second,” “Body Language” and his first network success “You Don’t Say!” In all, he was cast as host of 14 network programs.
He also tried his hand at acting, appearing in guest roles on classic TV programs ranging from comedic appearances in “That Girl” and “Laugh-In” to crime dramas such as “Cannon” and “Hardcastle and McCormick.”
A native of Louisville, Kennedy was born Feb. 26., 1927, as James Edward Narz. He built a career in television after deciding to move west in search of announcing duties inspired by the success of his brother Jack Narz. Kennedy adopted his professional name to avoid confusion with his older brother as they often found themselves contending for the same jobs. In addition to his brother, Jack, who died in 2008, their brother-in-law was the late Bill Cullen, another notable game show host from TV’s Golden Age.
Kennedy’s first plunge into the career was attending a radio/television arts school. One year later, he entered the industry as an announcer/engineer. Before settling in California, he spent 10 years in radio in Kentucky and Missouri and married his college sweetheart Betty Gevedon in Lexington.
A wedding resolution to “shoot for the moon” first brought the honeymooners to Hollywood, according to a family-issued obituary. Their marriage lasted 59 years until her death in 2011.
Kennedy’s survivors include three children.
No services are planned. All remembrances are requested in the form of donations to the American Cancer Society.