STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — Alan Kalter, the quirky, red-headed announcer for David Letterman for two decades who frequently appeared in the show’s comedy bits, has died. He was 78.
Kalter died Monday at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut with his wife, Peggy, and their two daughters at his side, said Rabbi Joshua Hammerman of Temple Beth El, the synagogue Kalter attended. The cause of death was not announced.
“Whatever else, we always had the best announcer in television,” Letterman said in a statement. “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 was born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 21, 1943. Nicknamed “Big Red” for his hair, he provided the opening introductions on the “Late Show with David Letterman” on CBS from September 1995 until Letterman’s last episode on May 20, 2015, having taken the mantle after Bill Wendell’s retirement.
As Letterman would walk and run onto the stage, Kalter would introduce him with a sarcastic flair as “the king of unsocial media,” “nocturnal rainforest mammal” and other monikers.
Before Letterman, Kalter was the voice of the Michelin Man and the USA Network and the announcer for “Commander USA’s Groovie Movies” on the USA Network. He also was the announcer for New York-based game shows, including “To Tell the Truth” and “The $10,000 Pyramid.”
Kalter taught high school English on Long Island in the late 1960s before moving into radio broadcasting.
He lived in Stamford and was active in Temple Beth El.
“Beyond his fame and his golden voice, Alan was a past president of TBE and a true mensch, who was deeply committed to Jewish values and the Jewish people and was especially devoted to this, his home community,” Hammerman said in a statement.
A private funeral will be held at the Stamford synagogue on Wednesday and will be livestreamed.