'Press Your Luck' Host Dies in Plane Crash

Peter Tomarken, the host of the 1980s game show "Press Your Luck," died Monday morning when a small plane carrying him and two other passengers crashed in the Pacific Ocean.

According to news reports, Tomarken, 63, and two other people were aboard a Beechcraft 36 when it hit the ocean near the Santa Monica Pier a little after 9:30 a.m. Monday. The pilot reported engine failure not long after the aircraft's takeoff from Santa Monica Airport, a couple of miles inland from the crash site.

Rescuers recovered two bodies -- those of Tomarken and his wife, Kathleen, 41. Authorities are seeking a third person who was reportedly aboard.

Tomarken hosted "Press Your Luck," which was a daytime hit on CBS from 1983-86. The show is notable for its animated "Whammy" characters that took contestants' money when they landed on them, and for a 1984 scandal in which a player named Paul Michael Larson discovered a pattern in the show's game board and used it to win more than $100,000.

Larson wasn't doing anything illegal, but the show's producers later reprogrammed the game board to move randomly and keep other players from beating the game.

Tomarken was also an actor, with appearances on "Ally McBeal," "The Rockford Files" and "Heaven Can Wait" to his credit.