Alan Kalter, Longtime Letterman Announcer, Dies at 78
One of the most distinctive TV voices of the last half century has died. Alan Kalter was best known for his 20 year stint as the announcer of the Late Show With David Letterman on CBS. Kalter passed away on Monday. He was 78 years old.
Kalter joined the Late Show in 1995 and remained with the program until Letterman retired from late night in the spring of 2015. Prior to his time with Letterman, Kalter was the announcer of game shows like The $25,000 Pyramid and The $128,000 Question. His voice was also a staple of hundreds of television and radio commercials through the years.
Here was David Letterman’s statement on the news:
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. 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.
Many Late Show staff members became recurring comic characters on the series, and Alan Kalter was no different. Among his frequent sketches was “Alan Kalter’s Celebrity Interview,” which mostly involved Kalter getting furious at Dave because his show’s guest had invariably been scooped by Letterman interviewing them first. This compilation of the segments is absolutely hilarious. Make sure you watch the one with Clint Eastwood.
Kalter was always good in that sort of role. In “Alan Kalter’s Where Does It All Go?” Dave tries to pitch to a new segment featuring the announcer, and he is not happy about it.
Kalter did other sketches as well. Here was how he celebrated the 5,000th episode of the Late Show — or so he claimed as an excuse to sing and dance on television:
Kalter may be gone, but him screaming “Bite my junk suckrod!” at David Letterman because he screwed him out of an interview with Clint Eastwood will be with us forever. Thank you Alan.