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Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (8)  | Personal Quotes (9)

Overview (3)

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Birth NameJames Edward Joseph Narz
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Tom Kennedy was born on February 26, 1927 in Louisville, Kentucky, USA as James Edward Joseph Narz. He is known for his work on You Don't Say (1963), Hardcastle and McCormick (1983) and Cannon (1971). He was previously married to Betty Jane Gevedon.

Spouse (1)

Betty Jane Gevedon (7 March 1948 - 12 February 2011) ( her death) ( 4 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Wire-rimmed eye glasses

Trivia (8)

He is the brother of Jack Narz.
Appeared on Laugh-In (1967), continually saying "You Don't Say!" - title of the game show he was hosting at the time.
Good friends with comedian Vicki Lawrence.
Was Mark Goodson's first choice as host of Super Password (1984), but the job was ultimately given to fellow game show host, Bert Convy, who was a panelist on Password Plus (1979). Kennedy was busy hosting Body Language (1984), at the time, which was also produced by Mark Goodson.
On a taping of the syndicated The Price Is Right (1972), early on, when one of his contestants played the Race Game, much due to the malfunction of the clock, the same contestant got cocky when she thought she got all 4 prizes right, the first time, when she didn't know she made a mistake, so, while the producers adjusted the contestants' time on the clock, host Kennedy asked her to make more changes. Much due to the malfunction, she won all the prizes.
Mentor and friend of Kathie Lee Gifford.
Brother-in-law of Bill Cullen.

Personal Quotes (9)

[on The $100,000 Name That Tune (1974)'s success]: I didn't dare think it was going to be as big as it was. But I was hopeful, because I remembered the radio show and the early show with George DeWitt, they're talking about. Norman 'Red' Benson did the show, Bill Cullen did the show, and I remembered those days, and I thought if we could recapture some of that, we'll be lucky; and we took off.
[in a 2002 interview on game shows]: Some of them are good, some of them are bad. But, I'll give you a good response to that. I think Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (1999) is the most perfectly constructed quiz I've ever seen. It is gorgeous. It was a work of art, it was beautifully performed by Regis. Now, I know they're slipping a little bit, but they're trampling the show, and beat it to death. But, it's a great show.
[on Bill Cullen]: He was a master at what he did. People responded to Bill because he set a tone that he liked everybody himself and he really cared about his shows.
[as to how he replaced the deceased Allen Ludden, on Password Plus (1979), in 1980, at the time his brother-in-law should've been host]: Without question, Bill should have become the host of Password Plus (1979). He'd done a great job with the show when Allen was in the hospital. But NBC had signed him to do Chain Reaction (1980), before Allen got sick. The network really considered for a few days having Bill do both shows but decided against it. They really had hopes Chain Reaction (1980) could do well against the CBS soaps and they wanted Bill there. So, that's how I wound up being offered the show.
[about hosting The Price Is Right (1972)] Easily the hardest show I've ever hosted. You have to know the rules of multiple games and you have to figure out where to take the contestants and how to get them there, etc. Bob Barker is a genius. He makes it look so easy and smooth.
I don't like how some game shows today humiliate people and reward contestants for dishonesty. An example of this is The Weakest Link (2000). The host puts down contestants for incorrect responses while the object of the game is to vote off other contestants, mainly those that help the team succeed. I think it's a reflection of how selfish and cynical society today is at large, and I'm not a fan of it at all.
[on the death of his brother-in-law Bill Cullen]: He was my kind of guy, Bill Cullen was. Sharp, smart and sly, that's what Bill Cullen was. He made us laugh when we needed to, he made us think when we competed, too. He made it look like a breeze. He was my kind of guy. That's the name of that tune!
Split Second was a real challenge to host. I never did a serious quiz show before, so I prepared myself to make sure that I would keep the show moving and not stumble. I'd get to the studio early and read through the questions about an hour before taping, working on pronunciations and talk with writers through how to word them better. I also watched a lot of Jeopardy! and studied how Art Fleming hosted that show. I learned there was little to no wiggle room to breath, we had to keep the pace fast and the focus on the game, very no-nonsense.
The market dried up. The game show, as a format, was looked upon as damaged goods. I was involved with a couple of pilots, but nothing really stuck. Most of my colleagues saw the writing on the wall, that talk shows were replacing game shows, and got out of the business. I soon followed, with no regrets and a career that for the most part I'm proud of. It took about ten years for the format to make a comeback, with mixed results in my opinion, and I'm at peace with retirement, so I'll watch from afar, as a critic or a fan, depending on the situation.

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