Facts of Gene Rayburn
|Full Name:||Gene Rayburn|
|Age:||105 years 9 months|
|Birth Date:||December 22,1917|
|Best Match for Marriage:||Scorpio, Virgo, Taurus|
|Death Date:||November 29,1999|
|Birth Place:||Illinois, United States|
|Marital Status:||Not Known|
|Husband / Wife Name:||Helen Ticknor|
When asked what his greatest fear was, he replied, "Being caught stealing something cheap."
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American popular game show host and actor Gene Rayburn will be remembered for his game show on NBC called ‘The Match Game’ (1962-1969) and another one on CBS ‘Match Game’ (1973-1979 and later as a syndicate). This game has been rebooted on ABC this year start with Alec Baldwin as the host.
The Original ‘Match Game’
The show Match Game had the veteran quiz show master, Gene Rayburn. It consisted of two contestants who were asked questions of the fill in the blank type which they had to answer. Their answers were matched with those provided by the celebrity panel. The big names in the panel often included Richard Dawson, Brett Somers who was married to Jack Klugman, gay panelist Charles Nelson Reilly and Betty White.
The questions which Gene Rayburn posted were invariably embarrassing and had a sexual innuendo. The contestants won prize money if their answers matched those of the panelists. There also used to be banter between the panelists especially Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly which was worth watching.
Gene Rayburn also passed funny comments. There were also some tongue slips by Gene Rayburn which only added to the fun of watching the show. The most famous of such bloopers was when Gene Rayburn was introducing a lady contestant who had prominent dimples. He wanted to praise her for the dimples but instead of saying dimples Gene Rayburn misspoke and said ‘nipples’. Gene Rayburn said:
“You have the most beautiful nipples I have ever seen.”
The lady was embarrassed. Gene Rayburn soon corrected himself and said that she had the most beautiful dimples.
Remembering that hilarious incident, Lynne Rayburn the daughter of Gene Rayburn said:
“The audience went nuts and they even had to stop tape. Everybody has played that clip, even in England.”
Gene Rayburn’s other fabulous shows
Gene Rayburn had always wanted to pursue acting. He migrated to New York in search of greener pastures. He worked as a page and usher with NBC in the initial days. He also joined announcer’s school and did radio programs. In 1942, he was called and joined the US Air Corps. He was with them during the World War II.
After that, he started work on the ‘Rayburn and Finch Show’. In the early fifties, he had his own ‘Gene Rayburn Show’. He then took to hosting game shows such as ‘The Sky’s the limit’, ‘Musical Chairs’ and the like.
Gene Rayburn also got to host the quiz game ‘Match Game’. The writer for the questions was Dick DeBartolo. Realizing that the ratings for the show were falling, it was suggested to put in 2-3 silly questions and have unspoken possibilities as answers. These only made the show more fascinating to watch. The celebrities on the show were also chosen from the A-listers.
Though the executive producer of the show did not want ‘laughs’ on his show, Gene Rayburn managed to squeeze in this comical element and enrich it. Gene Rayburn used to reside near his daughter’s place in Massachusetts. He used to fly every weekend to Los Angeles to record the shows. It is said that every other weekend Rayburn used to film 10-12 episodes. It was also said that the panelists used to drink vodka from a ‘cup’ during the filming of the show.
Gene Rayburn also got a chance to work on Broadway. He acted in ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ and also toured with the national company. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences conferred him with the honor of a lifetime achievement award.
Gene Rayburn’s married life and death
Gene Rayburn had married in 1940. His wife was Helen Ticknor. The two had a daughter named Lynne Rayburn. The couple had purchased their own house in Roxbury, Conn. However, after his wife’s death in 1999, Gene Rayburn moved close to his daughter’s home in North Shore, Massachusetts. The couple had a long-lasting marriage of 56 years.
This great actor died in end November 1999 at his home in Gloucester, Massachusetts. He was 81 years at the time of his death which was due to congestive cardiac failure. He was cremated and his ashes were strewn in his daughter’s garden.
Although he is gone, he is not forgotten and will remain in the hearts of many people as a fun, loving human and TV host.
Reference: (imdb, wikipedia)