Peter Tomarken, host of the hit 1980s game show “Press Your Luck,” and his wife Kathleen were killed when their small plane crashed into Santa Monica Bay Monday. He was 62.
Tomarken, who was piloting the aircraft, was a volunteer for Angel Flight West, a nonprofit organization that provides free air transportation for needy medical patients. The plane was on flight to San Diego to pick up a passenger who needed treatment at UCLA Medical Center. The Beech A-36 went down 200 yards offshore while apparently trying to return to Santa Monica Airport because of engine trouble.
Born in Olean, NY, Tomarken began his career as a magazine editor and then worked in advertising before breaking into gameshows.
Tomarken’s first game show was “Hit Man!,” which ran 13 weeks on NBC, followed by the four-year hit “Press Your Luck” on CBS. He made guest appearances on TV shows including “The Rockford Files,” “Ally McBeal” and “Running Mates.”
In 1987, Tomarken was on ABC with a show called “Bargain Hunters,” and then went to the syndicated “Wipe-Out” in 1990. He returned to game shows in 2000 with the program “Paranoia.” He had recently been working in the real estate business.