STAMFORD, Conn. — Alan Kalter, the quirky, redheaded announcer for David Letterman for two decades who frequently appeared in the show’s comedy bits, has died. He was 78.
Kalter, who grew up in Cedarhust and Little Neck, died Monday at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut with his wife, Peggy, and his two daughters at his side, said Rabbi Joshua Hammerman of Temple Beth El, the synagogue Kalter attended in Stamford. 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 on March 21, 1943. He grew up on Long Island before going to Hobart College in upstate Geneva and then returned to teach at Baldwin High School.
A 1968 Baldwin High School yearbook shows Kalter wearing horn-rimmed glasses as a public speaker, English and folksinging professor with the quote "Your whispering privileges are revoked."
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."
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.
With John Asbury