Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Gene Rayburn
Original name: Eugene Jelyevich
Birth: Dec. 22, 1917
Franklin County
Illinois, USA
Death: Nov. 29, 1999
Essex County
Massachusetts, USA

Television Announcer/Game Show Host/Actor. He was born Eugene Jelyevich in Christopher, Illinois. He was the only child of Croatian immigrants. He acted in high school plays and hoped to follow an acting career. He graduated from Knox College. He moved to New York City in the 1930s where he was a page for NBC, later working as an usher for the NBC symphony orchestra. He went to announcers school and worked with various radio personalities around New York City. He married Helen Tricknor in 1940 with whom he had one child, Lynn in 1942. He joined the US Air Corps. After the war Gene worked on the Rayburn and Fitch show and later the Gene Rayburn Show in the early fifties. His breakthrough came in 1954 as the announcer on "The Tonight Show" with Steve Allen. In 1955, he hosted his first game show called "The Sky's the Limit". Subsequent game shows included "Make the Connection" (1955), "Musical Chairs" (1955),"Tic Tac Dough" (1956), "Play Your Hunch" (1958), and "Dough Re Mi" (1958). He was also a Broadway performer, and appeared in plays. He had a small part in the 1959 movie "It Happened to Jane". In 1962 Rayburn first hosted "The Match Game". The original version, which aired on NBC, lasted until 1969; in 1973 the show returned to CBS with a new format in which contestants matched celebrity answers to humorous fill-in-the-blank questions. Millions tuned in and soon the show became the highest-rated daytime TV show. From 1973 to 1977, it was #1 among all game shows. The show aired in a night time version until 1982.The final game shows Rayburn emceed were, a 1985 revival of "Break the Bank" and "The Movie Masters", an AMC cable game show that ran from 1989 to 1990. In January 2001, he was ranked #3 on TV Guide's list of the 10 "hosts we love the most". He died at age 81. (bio by: Jane Stacy Eubanks) 
Cremated, Ashes scattered.
Specifically: Cremated remains spread over his daughter's garden
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Dec 01, 1999
Find A Grave Memorial# 7401
Gene Rayburn
Added by: Daniel Tudor
Gene Rayburn
Added by: Ron Moody
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

Always loved you on "Match Game". RIP
- Alan Humphrey
 Added: Feb. 20, 2017

- Stacey
 Added: Feb. 14, 2017

 Added: Feb. 7, 2017
There are 1,016 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (4.4 after 337 votes)

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service