We drove past the Santa Monica Pier this morning. An hour later, a small plane went down nearby, killing at least two people. One of the dead was TV game show host Peter Tomarken, who ironically is currently featured as “alive” on Dead or Alive Info.com.
This would be Tomarken's last brush with tabloid journalism (the infotainment shows were first to confirm his identity-- any small plane down from Santa Monica Airport attracts the celeb buzzards), but it was not his first.
It's a little-known fact that Peter Tomarken was one of the broadcast professionals who auditioned for the job hosting Premier Story, the groundbreaking late-night tabloid show that made history with its coverage of the OJ Simpson case in 1994. (Tomarken is alluded to in Tabloid Baby, Chapter 27, "Butthole Surfers & A Mad Dog Nightline," page 321: "...for audition day, we invited everyone who'd sent a tape and resume: the retired blowhard of an L.A. anchorman; the game show host...)
Tabloid Baby author and Premier Story’s senior producer Burt Kearns issued this statement today: “The Premier Story audition is a small but significant facet of Peter Tomarken’s television career. He was the one candidate who didn’t come from a ‘news’ background, and in those days, that was a factor that weighed against him. Yet, he remained a top contender for the host job because he was witty, confident, experienced in front of a camera and well-informed on the issues. Had he decided to try out today, he’d have fit right in hosting a show like Access Hollywood or anchoring on a network like CNN or ABC.”
Of course, Premier Story would be hosted by Alison Holloway, the beautiful blonde newswoman and television personality from England, now a successful producer, reporter & host in Los Angeles (pictured after her notorious "beaning" by a camera at the OJ Simpson pretrial).
(Update: As of 7:30 p.m. Pacific time, Peter Tomarken was listed as "Dead" on Dead or Alive Info.com: "He died today, at the age of 63. Field: Entertainment. Info: Game show host, best known for the orignal 'Press Your Luck.' Date of Birth: 12/07/1942. Date of Death: 03/13/2006. Age at Death: 63. Cause of Death: Plane crash."