logo
GettyImages
GettyImages

Willard Scott's Life & Career — He Worked with NBC for 65 Years and 35 of Them Were on 'Today'

Aby Rivas
May 06, 2020
09:00 A.M.
Share this pen
FacebookFacebookTwitterTwitterLinkedInLinkedInEmailEmail

Former weatherman and “Today” show personality Willard Scott had a fun-filled career in NBC that spanned over six decades. He officially retired at age 81 but hopes to celebrate his centenarian on the show as he did for so many people.

Advertisement

Willard Scott is a synonym of joy for many people that worked by his side throughout his long-lasting career on television.

Willard Scott at the Edison Ballroom in New York to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the TODAY show on January 12, 2012 | Photo: GettyImages

Willard Scott at the Edison Ballroom in New York to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the TODAY show on January 12, 2012 | Photo: GettyImages

Advertisement

Not only is he a broadcasting pioneer, but also a mentor for many of his peers, including Al Roker, who came in as his replacement on the “Today” show in the ’90s so that Scott could go into semi-retirement.

Scott had an unbeaten run on NBC, here we take a look at some of the highlights of his fruitful career.

Willard Scott. Baltimore Maryland Jan. 6, 1995 Harborplace © copyright John Mathew Smith 2001 | Photo: Wikmedia Commons Images

Willard Scott. Baltimore Maryland Jan. 6, 1995 Harborplace © copyright John Mathew Smith 2001 | Photo: Wikmedia Commons Images

Advertisement

WILLARD SCOTT’S EARLY LIFE & CAREER

Willard was born on March 7, 1934, in Alexandria, Virginia. He attended George Washington High School. He showed an interest in broadcasting from an early age, and at 16, in 1950, he started working as a page for NBC in Washington.

He also once got a kiss from former first lady Barbara Bush.

He attended the American University and worked as a disk jockey for radio station WINX on the weekends.

"TODAY" NBC News' Willard Scott in April, 1980 | Photo: GettyImages

"TODAY" NBC News' Willard Scott in April, 1980 | Photo: GettyImages

Advertisement

Later, Willard joined forces with Ed Walker to form The Joy Boys broadcast team and moved to WRC-AM, an NBC owned radio station in 1953. They remained in that station until 1972 when they started broadcasting on WWDC.

Through the ’60s, Willard performed in children’s shows such as "Commander Retro" and "Bozo, the Clown" on WRC-TV, an NBC owned station in Washington.

During that time, he also originated the character, Ronald McDonald, in TV commercials for the fast-food franchise.

Advertisement

In 1968, he started his duties as a weekday weatherman on WRC-TV, and in 1980, he made his first appearance on “Today” as weatherman too.

WILLARD’S TIME ON “TODAY”

Aside from his weather duties, Willard started his tradition of celebrating centenarian’s birthdays after complying with the request of a viewer who asked him to congratulate a family member on-air in 1983.

During the ’80s, Willard took his weather reports on the road, often broadcasting from state fairs, parades, and fund-raising events across the country.

Advertisement

He made special reports from Europe, South America, China, and Australia, visited Rome during the Holy Week, the Eastern Seaboard on a cruise, and also the Heartland of America aboard the “Today Express.”

Willard was the designated anchor of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1987 to 1997, and he used to dress as Santa for the White House’s National Tree-Lighting Ceremony during the ’80s.

TODAY -- Pictured: NBC News' Willard Scott in 1982 | Photo by NBC NewsWire/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

TODAY -- Pictured: NBC News' Willard Scott in 1982 | Photo by NBC NewsWire/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Advertisement

SOME OF HIS MEMORABLE MOMENTS

Throughout his time on “Today,” Willard brought people laughter by dressing up as characters such as Carmen Miranda and Boy George while delivering the weather.

He also once got a kiss from former first lady Barbara Bush, who walked away from her husband George in the middle of his inaugural parade just to plant a kiss on Willard’s mouth.

Advertisement

Bush recalled that when she returned by George’s side, he asked if she knew Willard and she replied,

“I don’t know, Willard Scott. I just love that face.”

On another occasion, Willard was in the middle of a broadcast near the White House when a sweaty Bill Clinton approached him. The then-president was jogging, and when he saw Willard, he chimed in to invite him along.

Advertisement

Willard also became the image of Smuckers, who were the official sponsors of the birthday celebrations that became Willard’s trademark on the show.

“Willard made it cool to age,” said “Today” co-host Matt Lauer.

Advertisement

WILLARD’S RETIREMENT

Willard officially retired in December 2015 with a special segment on “Today” that reunited most of the co-hosts to celebrate his career and life.

Al Roker, who said he considers Willard like a mentor and a second father, joined the now 86-year-old at his Virginia farm while the rest of the team celebrated in the studio.

Advertisement

As part of the tributes, Barbara Bush sent a message to Willard to wish him a good retirement, and he received heartwarming words from Al Roker, who told him:

“I wish nothing but the best and good health to you, so much so that I get to announce your birthday on a Smucker's jar.”

Willard joked said he wasn’t retiring but “expiring,” and advised NBC to change the locks at the building just in case.

Advertisement

WILLARD SCOTT’S FAMILY

Willard has been married twice. He wed his first wife, Mary Dwyer, in 1959. They had two daughters, Mary and Sally. Dwyer passed away in 2002.

Then, in 2014, Willard married his second wife, Paris Keena, at 80 years old. They had been together for a decade but first met in 1977, when Paris worked for WRC, NBC’s affiliate.

The pair eventually reconnected after Dwyer’s passing and have been together since then. When asked about honeymoon plans at the time, Willard said, “our whole life has been a honeymoon.”

Advertisement
info
Please fill in your e-mail so we can share with you our top stories!
By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy
Advertisement
Related posts

Jack Lord Saw His Only Child Just Once & Never Met Him Again — He Passed Away without an Heir

May 10, 2022

How Did Harrison Ford Meet Calista Flockhart? Timeline of Their Relationships

May 18, 2022

Harrison Ford Had 5 Kids from 3 Marriages Including a Daughter Who Is His 'Hero' & an Adopted Son

May 14, 2022

Martin Sheen's Longtime Wife Helped Him 'Heal Psychically' When He Thought He Was Going to Die

April 28, 2022

Al Roker Said His Son 'Was an Answer to Prayer' Yet Could Barely Talk & Walk as a Kid — Inside His Fatherhood

May 06, 2022

Harrison Ford's Future Wife & Adopted Son Saved Him from Loneliness after Separation from 4 Biological Kids

April 07, 2022

Al Roker & Deborah Roberts 'Made a Commitment' to Each Other —They Have Been Married for 26 Years

March 18, 2022

Jenna Bush Hager Proposed to Her Future Husband a Few Months after the ‘Worst First Date’ - He Said ‘No'

March 29, 2022

George W Bush Wed Wife of 44 Years 3 Months after Meeting: 'Those Blue Eyes, Oh My God'

April 08, 2022

NBC’s Lester Holt Wed Flight Attendant 40 Years Ago & Still Gush About Loving the Mom of His 2 Sons

March 09, 2022

Robert Redford Lives 'Whole New Life' after Marrying 21-Years-Younger Wife — It Took Them 13 Years to Wed

March 21, 2022

Who Is Harrison Ford's Spouse? Meet His Exes and Children

May 18, 2022

Barbara Walters Believed Clint Eastwood Was the One Who Got Away after Their 'Sad Love Story'

February 16, 2022

NBC's Lester Holt's Kids with Wife of 40 Years Are 'Terrific,' 'Good Men' - Meet His Kids & Grandkids

March 22, 2022