Alan Kalter, David Letterman’s ‘Late Show’ announcer, dead at 78

Alan Kalter, the legendary on-air announcer with a melodramatic flair for two decades of “The Late Show with David Letterman,” died Monday at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut. He was 78.

The veteran hype man’s wife Peggy Kalter confirmed his death to the Hollywood Reporter.

The bombastic, ginger-haired voice-over talent had scores of A-list credits — but remained loyal to the gap-toothed Hoosier who made him something of a household name for several decades.

“He’s a perfectionist,” the longtime “Late Show” announcer told The Post before Letterman’s iconic final episode aired in 2015. “He keeps the people that are doing the job they were hired to do. He’s very complimentary when you do a good job.” 

Representatives for Letterman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post.

Born Alan Robert Kalter in Brooklyn on March 21, 1943, he was a veteran behind-the-scenes talent before braving the cameras in September 1995 — a role he would fulfill for 20 years, until Letterman’s final episode on May 20, 2015.

“I stayed away from the camera purposefully for 25 years because I didn’t want to be recognized,” Kalter told The Post of his on-camera avoidance in 2006. “My very first day on the set, I was dressed to kill, and Dave had an Olympic diver on the show and he said, ‘Alan, do you swim?’ Without any time to think about it, he said, ‘Come on down,’ and I came 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.”

He ruined his suit and electronics he had on hand, but he was apparently hooked.

“I’m doing the back-float looking up at the camera on the roof,” he recalled of the incident. “And I said to myself, ‘So this is what it’s like to announce for David Letterman.’ ”

Alan Kalter announced for the “Late Show” for two decades.
Getty Images

The 1964 graduate of Hobart College in Geneva, New York, later attended law school at NYU and taught English and public speaking in high school on Long Island for several years before beginning his broadcasting career at the late, great NYC radio station WHN.

Then came the game show circuit: Kalter was the announcer on classic game shows “To Tell the Truth,” “The Money Maze” (taped at The Ed Sullivan Theater, his future place of employment on Broadway) and “The $25,000 Pyramid.” The latter gig is where he met Letterman, who was a guest celebrity on the show. He also specialized in voiceovers for hundreds of national commercials — including the Michelin Man!

In lieu of flowers, Kalter requested that donations in his memory be made to Temple Beth El in Stamford, Connecticut.


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