Tom Kennedy, game show host on ‘Name That Tune’ and ‘Split Second,’ dies at 93

His 16 shows in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s also included “You Don’t Say,” “Password Plus” and a prime time “The Price Is Right.”

SHARE Tom Kennedy, game show host on ‘Name That Tune’ and ‘Split Second,’ dies at 93

Tom Kennedy hosts the game show “Split Second” in 1975.


Tom Kennedy, the game show host for programs such as ”Name That Tune,” “Split Second,” and a nighttime version of “The Price Is Right,” has died. He was 93.

Kennedy, who emceed 16 shows between 1958 and 1987, died Wednesday evening at his home in Oxnard, California, TV historian and friend Steve Beverly wrote Sunday on Facebook when posting Kennedy’s official obituary.

No cause of death was given, but Beverly noted that “Tom had not been well in recent months” even as the TV entertainer had remained in communication with family and close friends.

Born Jim Narz in Louisville, Kentucky, on Feb. 26, 1927, Kennedy followed his older brother, TV host Jack Narz, to Hollywood in 1947 to try broadcasting as a career. He changed his name in 1957 to avoid confusion with his similarly named sibling.

Kennedy’s first break was as a game show host in 1958 with “The Big Game,” followed by ”Dr. I.Q.” in the 1958-59 season. Major success came with “You Don’t Say!” The NBC show lasted six seasons from 1963 to 1969. Kennedy helmed the ABC revival in 1975.

In 1972, Kennedy hosted the Monty Hall-created “Split Second.” His longest, most memorable tenure was the host of the syndicated “Name That Tune” from 1974 to 1981, with John Harlan as the show’s announcer.

Other shows included “Password Plus” (from 1980 to 1982), “It’s Your Bet,” “Break the Bank,” “50 Grand Slam,” “To Say the Least,” “Whew!” and “Body Language.”

Kennedy hosted a prime-time, syndicated edition of “The Price Is Right” from 1985 to 1986, and a brief stint on his own talk show, “The Real Tom Kennedy Show.” 

The actor had guest roles on TV’s “That Girl,” ”The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,” ”Cannon” and “Hardcastle and McCormick.”

He retired in 1989. 

Kennedy’s wife of 59 years, Betty, his one-time college sweetheart, died in 2011. He is survived by children Linda Ann Narz, James Narz Jr. and Courtney Ellen Narz.


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