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.