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Gene Rayburn Biography

Birth Name:
Eugene Jelyevich
Birth Place:
Christopher, Illinois, United States
Actor, announcer, host

Fast Facts

  • Was the son of Croatian immigrants
  • Was senior class president in high school
  • Served in the U
  • S
  • Air Force as a pilot and bombardier in WWII
  • Originally wanted to enter the entertainment industry in hopes of becoming an opera singer
  • Was given his first job in the entertainment field as a page for NBC
  • Prior to acting, co-hosted a morning radio show called Rayburn & Finch in NYC in the 1940s
  • Contended that his career came to a halt when he was 68 and Entertainment Tonight revealed his age as being older than many thought
  • Given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in October 1999, only a month before his death


  • Lynne Rayburn -- Daughter
  • Mary Hivec Rubessa -- Mother
  • Milan Rubessa -- Stepfather
  • Helen Rayburn -- Wife (deceased)