James Joseph Tarbuck, OBE (born 6 February 1940) is an English comedian. He was a host of Sunday Night at the London Palladium in the mid 1960s, and is also known for his numerous hostings of game and quiz shows on ITV during the 1970s, '80s and early '90s. He is also known for leading ITV's Live From Her Majesty's and its subsequent incarnations during the 1980s. His daughter is actress and television and radio presenter Liza Tarbuck.
Tarbuck was born in Wavertree, Liverpool, on 6 February 1940. Growing up, he attended Dovedale Primary School in Liverpool where he was a schoolmate of John Lennon. His first television show was It's Tarbuck '65! on ITV in 1964, though he had been introduced at the London Palladium on 27 October 1963, and he was the last original host of Sunday Night at the London Palladium from 1965. He has also hosted numerous quiz shows, including Winner Takes All, Full Swing, and Tarby's Frame Game.
In the 1980s, he hosted similar Sunday night variety shows, Live From Her Majesty's, Live from the Piccadilly and finally Live from the Palladium, which were produced by London Weekend Television for ITV. Nicknamed Tarby, he is a Conservative Party supporter, and at the height of his celebrity was a prominent supporter of Margaret Thatcher and her policies.
He was appearing on the fourth series of BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing in 2006, but he was forced to pull out for medical reasons. In 2008, he returned to a variety format on television screens when he co-hosted, alongside Emma Bunton, an edition of ITV1's variety show, For One Night Only. On 25 May 2012 he appeared on Piers Morgan's Life Stories while on 3 December 2012 he was invited to celebrate 100 years of the Royal Variety Performance.
In October 2015 Tarbuck and Des O'Connor starred in their own one-off show at the London Palladium to raise money for the new Royal Variety Charity. In 2016 and 2017 they toured clubs and theatres around the UK with his comedy show, and sometimes as a double act with Kenny Lynch.
He lives with his wife Pauline in Coombe, Kingston upon Thames, London. They have three children, Cheryl (born in 1960), Liza (born in 1964), and James (born in 1968).