Tom Kennedy, the longtime host of Name That Tune, passed away at the age of 93. A friend of his informed TMZ of the news, adding that Kennedy had been ill for months. The exact cause of death has yet to be revealed. Kennedy is survived four children that he raised with his wife, Betty, who passed away in 2011.
Name That Tune premiered in 1952 on NBC. The show went all the way up until 1985. Kennedy joined the program in 1974 and remained as host until 1981. When it first debuted, Red Benson served as host followed up by Bill Cullen and later George DeWitt. One of the series’ biggest claim to fame is that it was the stepping stone for Kathie Lee Gifford, who served as the show’s singer until 1978. Gifford, then Kathie Lee Johnson at the time, went on to have a 15-year run as co-host on Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee.
Tom Kennedy was a Louisville native and one of the great classic TV hosts. https://t.co/l2Duu6PrzK— Chris Turner (@ChrisTurnerWDRB) October 11, 2020
In addition to his time on Name That Tune, Kennedy was a part of numerous other game shows throughout his career. This include Split Second and You Don’t Say!, which ran from 1963 to 1969 and was revived in 1975 for a brief period of time. Meanwhile, Split Second aired in the 70s. Other credits to his name include Whew!, Password Plus, Body Language and Wordplay. He also spent a brief time on The Price is Right during the evenings.
Kennedy wrapped up his career in 1989 with Wordplay being his final full-time gig. While not known for any particular work in it, Kennedy, who was was born in Louisville, Kentucky, also appeared in some television shows, namely The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Hardcastle and McCormick. His work as a game shot host earned him the Bill Cullen Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Game Show Congress in 2005. At the same time, his brother, Jack Narz, was a co-recipient of the award. Narz appeared in several shows, including Now You See It and Beat the Clock. One of his more well-known gigs was as the host of Dotto, whichi combined traditional quiz show with a giant game of connect the dots. At its peak viewership, Dotto was the highest rated daytime program in television history up until 1958.