David Letterman’s ‘Late Show’ Announcer Alan Kalter Dies at 78
Alan Kalter, who served as the announcer on The Late Show with David Letterman for its two-decade run on CBS, has died. He was 78.
Kalter’s wife Peggy confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that he passed away on Monday at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut. A cause of death has not been disclosed.
Known to fans for his distinctive voice, Kalter joined The Late Show in 1995 as the show’s announcer and remained in the role until Letterman’s retirement on May 20, 2015. He also regularly performed in scripted comedy skits in addition to his announcing duties, often breaking out into song or angry rants, much to the bemusement of Letterman.
Born on March 21, 1944, in Brooklyn, New York, Kalter attended Hobart College and began his career as an English and Public Speaking teacher at Baldwin High School on Long Island. He started his broadcasting career on local radio, announcing for hundreds of stations. This led to voicing television commercials, including the 1980s voice of USA Network and the Michelin Man.
Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Kalter was the announcer on various TV game shows, including The Money Maze, The $128,000 Question, and The $25,000 Pyramid. He also appeared on Letterman’s Worldwide Pants-produced NBC series Ed in 2000 and provided the narration for When Pop Culture Saved America, a documentary looking at how American culture helped the country deal with the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
“When our announcer of 15 years Bill Wendell retired, producer Robert Morton came to my office with an audio tape containing auditions for several announcers. Alan’s was the first and only voice we listened to. We knew he would be our choice,” said Letterman in a statement (via THR).
“Whatever else, we always had the best announcer in television. Wonderful voice and eagerness to play a goofy character of himself. Did I mention he could sing? Yes he could. He enthusiastically did it all. A very sad day, but many great memories.”