Former Today weatherman Willard Scott dies at 87
Willard Scott, the beloved longtime weatherman on NBC's Today, has died. He was 87.
His death on Saturday morning was confirmed via Twitter by Al Roker, who replaced Scott on the NBC morning show in 1996. "We lost Willard Scott passed peacefully at 87 surrounded by family, including his daughters Sally and Mary and his lovely wife, Paris," Roker wrote. "He was truly my second dad and am where I am today because of his generous spirit. Willard was truly a broadcast #icon."
Scott, who had worked in broadcasting since the age of 16, was best known for celebrating viewers and fans who turned 100. Their images would be featured on Smucker's jelly jars during episodes of Today.
Born in Virginia, Scott began his career in 1950 as a page at an NBC-owned radio station in Washington, D.C. He graduated from American University with a degree in philosophy and religion.
Besides performing sketches and hosting children's shows on radio, Scott played Ronald McDonald for a local McDonald's franchise in Washington, D.C., in the late '60s. He joined Today in 1980 as its weatherman and began celebrating centenarians on air three years later. He delighted viewers with his playful antics, dressed up in crazy outfits like the time he impersonated Carmen Miranda, and loved to go on the road.
After Roker replaced him, Scott occasionally filled in for the next 10 years before fully retiring from TV in 2015. The plaza outside Rockefeller Center was renamed Willard Scott Way as a way to honor the longtime weatherman.
"I am heartbroken that the much loved Willard Scott has passed away," wrote former Today anchor Katie Couric. "Willard played such an outsized role in my life .... whether it was as the Ronald McDonald of my childhood, 'Joy Boy' of radio in Washington DC, and of course as a ubiquitous presence on the Today Show."
Scott was married to Mary Dwyer Scott from 1959 until her death in 2002. They had two children. He is survived by his wife of seven years, Paris Keena.