Ray Rayner (born Raymond M. Rahner; July 23, 1919 – January 21, 2004) was an American television presenter, actor and author, he was the staple of Chicagochildren’s television in the 1960s and 1970s on WGN-TV.
Rayner (the name was initially spelled “Rahner” but pronounced “Rayner”) grew up in Queens, New York. He attended College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts; his first media job was working for WGBB radio in Freeport on Long Island while he was attending night school at Fordham University.
2+1⁄2 years as a POW in Stalag Luft III, he helped prepare the escape depicted in the film The Great Escape—though he was transferred to another camp before the escape took place. It was during his time as a POW that he discovered his talent for entertaining, namely through his fellow prisoners and his German captors. He was interviewed in a documentary titled “Stalag Luft III”, produced by RDR Productions of Glenview, Illinois.