Tom Van Amburg, Influential KABC Executive, Dies at 83

He gave daytime legend Regis Philbin his first morning show

Tom Van Amburg
Tom Van Amburg (Courtesy of Van Amburg family)

Tom Van Amburg, a former KABC-TV executive who helped boost the careers of Regis Philbin and Paul Moyer, died Monday at his home in Los Angeles, according to Tuesday media reports. He was 83.

The late exec ran KABC from 1981 to ’86 and made the call to give Philbin a local daytime talk show that eventually became the morning show that is today known as “Live With Kelly and Mark.”

Van Amburg also anchored specials himself, like 1984’s “Coliseum Coliseum,” when L.A. was the host city for the Summer Olympics. He also hosted “Eyewitness Anonymous,” similar to the later “America’s Most Wanted,” in which he urged viewers to “Turn ’em in” if they had any tips about local criminals.

Throughout his career, Van Amburg worked for ABC O&O stations in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. After leaving KABC, he worked for CBS-owned KCBS-TV Los Angeles before going on to found Vanamedia productions.

Notably, his brother Fred Van Amburg was also well-known as San Francisco’s KGO-TV weatherman in the ’70s and ’80s and went simply by their shared last name.

Tom’s two sons also went into the entertainment field: Zack Van Amburg is co-head of worldwide video for Apple, while Chris Van Amburg is an entertainment marketing executive. He is additionally survived by his wife Mary Van Amburg, daughter Arden and six grandchildren.

Variety and Deadline were first to report the news.

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