Television Host Gene Rayburn

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on November 20, 2005

What can you tell me about Gene Rayburn, who hosted The Match Game in the 1970s?
—E. McGonigle, Bear, Del.

Rayburn, born Dec. 22, 1917, in Christopher, Ill., knew he wanted to be in front of the cameras at an early age. In the late 1930s, he moved to New York and got his first job as a page for NBC. During that time he met and married Helen Tricknor; their union lasted until her death in 1996. After serving in the Air Force, he got his big break as the announcer for The Tonight Show With Steve Allen. In 1955, he hosted his first game show, Make the Connection, followed by Tic Tac Dough, Dough Re Mi and finally The Match Game in 1962, which aired on and off for 20 years. Rayburn died in 1999 of congestive heart failure.