Kalter got his start in radio before serving as the announcer on game shows To Tell the Truth, The Money Maze and The $25,000 Pyramid, where he met Letterman, who was a guest on the show. Kalter also did voice-overs for hundreds of commercials, was the voice of the Michelin Man and voiced regular promos for USA Network.
In Sept. 1995, Kalter took over for Bill Wendell as the Late Show announcer, about two years after Letterman moved from NBC to CBS, where he remained through the host’s final show in May 2015.
The announcer quickly made a splash on the show, with Letterman tossing him into a pool on his first day. Kalter announced the guests and introduced Letterman at the top of each show before closing out each night by voicing a hilarious one-liner over the Worldwide Pants title card during the end credits.
Nicknamed "Big Red" by the late night host, Kalter often acted in funny sketches on the show, including hosting "Alan Kalter’s Celebrity Interview" after Letterman was finished with the night's guests.
Kalter opened up about the moment he was offered the job as the show's late night announcer during a 2019 interview on The Paul Leslie Hour.
"When I came home and said I was offered the job as the announcer on the Late Show, I told my wife I wasn’t sure if I really wanted it because it would really rock the boat on those commercials I was doing around the country," he recalled. "I wouldn’t be able to go away for three or four days at a time whenever I wanted to, to do that work. And my kids, who were in high school at the time, sort of immediately in chorus said, ‘Dad this is the first cool thing you’ve ever done in your life. Take it!'"
One of Kalter's former colleagues paid tribute to the comic and announcer Monday night.
"RIP Alan Kalter," Bill Scheft, a writer on The Late Show tweeted, along with a clip of one of Kalter’s bits on Letterman. "A lovely man, and as my old boss might say, a 'perfect stooge....'"