Longtime Late Show With David Letterman announcer Alan Kalter dies at 78
Alan Kalter, who served as the longtime announcer for The Late Show With David Letterman, has died at 78.
Rabbi Joshua Hammerman of Temple Beth El in Stamford, Conn., confirms to EW that Kalter died at Stamford Hospital beside his wife Peggy and his daughters Lauren Hass and Diana Binger.
"When our announcer of 15 years Bill Wendell retired, producer Robert Morton came to my office with an audiotape containing auditions for several announcers. Alan's was the first and only voice we listened to. We knew he would be our choice," David Letterman said in a statement.
"Whatever else, we always had the best announcer in television," he continued. "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."
Kalter became Letterman's announcer in September 1995, taking over for Bill Wendell, who retired. The redheaded announcer served in the role until Letterman wrapped his run in May 2015.
The announcer famously marked his '95 debut on the show with a dip into a swimming pool at Letterman's insistence.
"Dave, he's got a sense of humor," Kalter told CBS back in 2015. "He said, 'We have an Olympic high diver and she's going to jump into a pool on 53rd street, and Alan, do you swim?' And I went, 'Yeah.' And he took my hand and he brought me out to the pool and he said, 'Test the water,' and I'm floating on my back, looking up at the camera and going, this is what it's like to announce on Letterman. This is going to be fun."
In the same interview, he said laughter was the best part of his job.
"Every one of us goes through a terrible time once in a while, before 3 o'clock or 4 o'clock. No matter what my day is like — 4:30-5:30 I laugh; I smile. Every day he makes me do that," Kalter said.
In addition to announcing duties on Letterman, he occasionally appeared on the show in sketches, including one where he spoke to camera and addressed divorcees in an amorous fashion.
Kalter was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., but was raised in Long Island, before eventually making his home in Connecticut.
He was the announcer for Commander USA's Groovie Movies, a movie showcase that ran on USA from 1985-1989. He also announced USA's Saturday Nightmares, another movie showcase on the cable network, from 1986-1994. And he announced the Grammy Awards in 2003.
Kalter did announcing for a number of game shows, as well, including To Tell the Truth and The $25,000 Pyramid.