Willard Scott, longtime Today show personality, will get a send-off on the program Tuesday, Dec. 15. Scott has spent 35 years at Today and a total of 65 at NBC. He announced his retirement Dec. 11; anchor Matt Lauer called it “a bittersweet moment” for the show and the network.
Scott, 81, is a weatherman by trade, but is perhaps best known for singling out those turning 100 on Today, with help from sponsor Smucker’s.
NBC is looking back on Scott’s highlights on the air, with the hashtag #ThankyouWillard, including when then-first lady Barbara Bush stopped during the 1989 Inaugural Parade to give Scott a smooch.
Another time, he dressed as Carmen Miranda for charity. “Long before there were viral moments,” said Lauer on the Dec. 14 program, “there was Willard Scott.”
Scott got his start in show biz playing the first Ronald McDonald in TV commercials in 1963.
He met Today co-host Al Roker when both were working in Washington, and became a mentor to the younger weather forecaster. “I can honestly say I wouldn’t be here doing the Today show if it wasn’t for Willard,” Roker said.