David Letterman is mourning the death of Alan Kalter, who he worked with for 20 years on The Late Show. Alan died at the age of 78 at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut. His death was confirmed by his wife, Peggy Kalter, although the family did not disclose the cause of death. Alan started working on The Late Show in 1995 and worked as an announcer and comic on the show until David left in 2015.
“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,” David said in a statement. “Alan’s was the first and only voice we listened to. We knew he would be our choice. 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.
Alan is a graduate of Hobart College. He went on to attend New York University and embarked on a career as a high school teacher in Long Island before beginning a radio broadcasting career. Alan eventually began announcing game shows like To Tell The Truth and The $25,000 Pyramid. The latter show is actually where he first met David, who was playing the game as a celebrity guest. During Alan’s time on the Late Show, he joined David in comedy bits, in addition to his duties as the announcer.
For the most part, Alan’s broadcasting career was done behind the camera. However, once he joined the Late Show, that all changed. “I stayed away from the camera purposefully for 25 years because I didn’t want to be recognized,” Alan told The New York Post in 2006. “My very first day on set, I was dressed to kill, and Dave had an Olympic diver on the show. He said, ‘Alan, do you swim?’ and without any time to think about it, he said, ‘Come on down.’ I came down from the side of the stage and he took me by the wrist outside to 53rd and I marched up a ladder and dove off into a Nike pool.” The rest is history!