Gene Rayburn, born Eugene Rubessa (December 22, 1917-November 29, 1999), was an American radio and television personality.
Rayburn was born in Christopher, Illinois, and became a popular radio personality in New York City before breaking into television as the original announcer on The Tonight Show in 1954. He hosted his first game show, Make the Connection, in 1955; from there he hosted shows such as Choose Up Sides, Dough Re Mi, and Tic Tac Dough.
In 1962 Rayburn first hosted the game show that he was best known for hosting, Match Game. The original version, which aired on NBC, lasted until 1969; in 1973 the show returned to CBS with a new format. The popular revival of Match Game, which featured regular celebrity panelists Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly, ran until 1982. A year later the show was revived as part of the Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour, with Rayburn hosting the Match Game segment and sitting on the panel of the Hollywood Squares segment. The show lasted only nine months on NBC.
After his stint on Match Game ended, a reporter publicly disclosed his age, which was much older than many people believed. Rayburn had trouble finding jobs after that, blaming the reporter for disclosing his age and subjecting him to age discrimination.
Rayburn died in Gloucester, Massachusetts, of congestive heart failure at age 81.