Match Game host Gene Rayburn was known for his infectious personality and love for game shows. His life away from television has remained a mystery to many viewers of the classic series. The Love Boat alum found love with his wife, Helen Ticknor, and was married to her up until her death in 1996. Get to know more about the late television host’s spouse.
Who Was Gene Rayburn’s Wife, Helen Ticknor?
Gene and Helen got married in 1940. In their first few years as a married couple, the Illinois native was serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. Upon returning home, he established a career as a radio host before setting his sights on television. Gene served as the announcer on The Knickerbocker Beer Show and The Steve Allen Show before joining The Tonight Show in 1954.
The Illinois native began hosting The Match Game in 1962 and was also brought on to host its other spinoffs in the years that followed. In 1974, he became a guest host on the game show Tattletales. Helen made several appearances on the show with her husband up until 1976. She also appeared on an episode of All About Faces with Gene in 1971, a game show featuring hilarious hidden camera antics.
Match Game was revived a number of times over the years and Helen stuck by her hubby’s side as he traveled from their home in Massachusetts to California to film the program. Other than a few minor television appearances, Helen and Gene’s relationship remained pretty private. The Canadian-born beauty worked as a hat model, according to the New York Times.
Did Gene and Helen Have Any Children Together?
Gene and Helen became parents in 1942 when their daughter, Lynne Rayburn, arrived. Lynne appeared in one episode of The Match Game in 1966. However, much like her mom, she stayed out of the spotlight for the most part. After losing his wife, Gene also took a step back from Hollywood, making some of his last television appearances on The Howard Stern Show in 1992.
Gene died three years after his wife in 1999 at the age of 81. He suffered from dementia and congestive heart failure at the time of his death. Just one month earlier, he appeared in person to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. His ashes were spread through his daughter’s garden, per IMDb.