Gene Rayburn gave his all to hosting Match Game for more than two decades. As an alluring and influential figure in the game show circuit, Gene earned the love of millions of fans all over the world. At home, he was simply known as “Dad” to his only child, Lynne Rayburn

Was Gene Rayburn Married?

Gene was born Eugene Peter Jeljenic in Christopher, Illinois, on December 22, 1917. He married his wife, Helen Ticknor, in 1940. Two years after walking down the aisle, they welcomed Lynne. 

In his early days of fatherhood, Gene enlisted in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. After serving, he returned home to set out on a show business career that would go down in history books. In addition to ruling the game show circuit, Gene performed in Bye Bye Birdie on Broadway and acted in TV series, including The Love Boat and Fantasy Island

One thing that made Match Game such an instant hit was the rotating panel of celebrities who always knew how to keep the laughs coming. Helen worked as a hat model in the early days of their marriage. She stood by her husband’s side as he frequently traveled from Massachusetts to California to film Match Game until his run as host ended in 1982. 

Gene and Helen were married up until her death in 1996 at age 81. 


Who Is Gene Rayburn’s Daughter, Lynne Rayburn? 

As Gene became synonymous with the success of Match Game, his wife and daughter made appearances on television alongside him. Lynne made a rare cameo on the series in 1966. Other than that, she opted to keep details about her personal life away from the spotlight.  

Game show historian Adam Nedeff previously shared that Lynne encouraged her father to seek therapy after carrying grief from the death of his brother in a traffic accident. 

“His daughter’s theory is that that’s why he was so obsessed with being an actor, because when you’re an actor, you’re playing a character and changing your identity,” he told Closer in April 2020. “You’re not you for a few hours every day. She thinks that that’s really what attracted Gene to the idea of acting.”

Lynne also revealed that her father came up with his stage name by opening up a telephone book and randomly landing his finger on the name Rayburn. Gene died from congestive heart failure at Lynne’s home on November 29, 1999, at the age of 81.