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Alan Kalter, 'Late Show with David Letterman' announcer, dies at 78

Kalter, nicknamed "Big Red," took over as Letterman's announcer in 1995 and remained with the show until Letterman ended his tenure in 2015.

LOS ANGELES — Alan Kalter, the "voice" of CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman" for most of its run, has died, Variety has confirmed. He was 78.

According to Rabbi Joshua Hammerman of Temple Beth El in Stamford, Conn., Kalter died at Stamford Hospital, with wife Peggy and his daughters Lauren Hass and Diana Binger at his side.

Kalter took over as Letterman's announcer on Sept. 5, 1995, replacing Bill Wendell, who had retired. Kalter remained with "Late Show" until Letterman ended his tenure in May 2015.

Image: Alan Kalter
Alan Kalter attends "Strangers With Candy" screening arrivals and after party at Cinema 123 and Dylan's Candy Bar, in N.Y., on June 20, 2006.Chance Yeh / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images file

Although the gig centered on announcing the guests at the top of each show and other various introduction elements, Kalter soon became a pivotal part of "Late Show," often in scripted segments in which he satirically flew off the handle and stormed off stage; played himself as deviant and creepy; and often being the butt of jokes.

Nicknamed "Big Red" and "TV's Uncle Jerry," Kalter might be seen in an Elvis jumpsuit or ripping his shirt off to sing a song. Other bits included "Alan Kalter's Celebrity Interview." Kalter's full commitment to the bit usually elicited a big grin and chuckle from Letterman.

No matter what, Kalter was always game. "To us 'Late Show' writers Alan was so much more than just the 'From New York...' guy," said former "Late Show" writer Carter Bays, who went on to co-create "How I Met Your Mother." "He was our muse. We loved writing for him. Such a cheerful presence on the show. And around the office. Rest easy Big Red."

Added Bays' writing partner, fellow "HIMYM" co-creator Craig Thomas: "Oh man, @CarterBays and I loved writing for Alan ... who was always game to let us make him look in peace, Alan, and thanks for the laughs."

Said former writer Bill Scheft, who first shared news of Kalter's passing on Twitter: "RIP Alan Kalter. A lovely man, and as my old boss might say, a 'perfect stooge....'"

Beyond "Late Show," Kalter had done hundreds of voiceovers for national radio and television commercials. He was also the announcer for New York-based television shows including "To Tell the Truth," "The $25,000 Pyramid," "The Money Maze," and "The $100,000 Question."

A native New Yorker, Kalter was born in Brooklyn and raised in Little Neck and Cedarhurst, N.Y.

Besides his wife and daughters, Kalter also leaves behind a brother, Gary, two sons-in-law, grandchildren Samantha, Ethan and Jordan Hass, Isabelle and Owen Binger; and many nieces and nephews.