Alan Kalter, the legendary on-air announcer who appeared for two decades on "The Late Show with David Letterman," has died at 78.
His wife, Peggy Kalter, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that he died Monday at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut, but did not provide a cause of death.
Kalter initially taught English and public speaking on Long Island for about three years before switching gears to pursue a career in broadcasting at the radio station WHN. He also served as announcer on several game shows including "To Tell the Truth," "The Money Maze," and "The $25,000 Pyramid," which was where he met Letterman, who was a guest on the show. Kalter also lent his voice to various commercials as well as promos for USA Network. In September 1995, he took over as announcer for "The Late Show" after Bill Wendell retired, and remained with the show until May 20, 2015.
In a 2019 interview, Kalter recalled the day he was approached by Letterman's producer Robert Morton, who asked if he would meet with the talk show host to see if they gelled.
"When I came home and I said I was offered the job as the announcer on 'Late Show,' I told my wife I wasn’t sure if I really I wanted it because it would really rock the boat on those commercials I was doing around the country," Kalter said. "I wouldn’t be able to go away for three or four days at a time whenever I wanted to, to do that work. And my kids, who were in high school at the time, sort of immediately in chorus said 'Dad this is the first cool thing you’ve ever done in your life. Take it!' So I took it. And it’s been a pleasure, really. It’s been a ball. It’s been just great!"
In a statement released following Kalter's death, Letterman recounted the moment he knew he wanted him to fill the position as an on-air announcer for the show.
"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," he said. "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."
Kalter is survived by his wife, daughters Lauren and Diana, grandchildren Samantha, Ethan, Jordan, Isabelle, and Owen, and his brother Gary.
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