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Willard Scott, the longtime ‘Today’ weather forecaster, has died

Willard Scott played Bozo the Clown and the original Ronald McDonald, too

“Today” show weatherman Willard Scott, center left, gets a hip-shaking lesson from Shaggy. Scott has died at age 87.
“Today” show weatherman Willard Scott, center left, gets a hip-shaking lesson from Shaggy, after the singer performed on the show in New York’s Rockefeller Center as part of their Summer Concert series in 2001. Scott recently died at age 87.
Richard Drew, Associated Press

Willard Scott — the longtime weatherman for the “Today” show — died over the weekend at his farm in Delaplane, Virginia. He was 87.

How did Willard Scott die?

Scott reportedly died after a brief illness, his wife said, according to The New York Times. It’s unclear what the illness or the specific cause of death was for Scott.

  • “We lost a beloved member of our @todayshow family this morning,” current “Today” shower weatherman Al Roker shared on Instagram. ”Willard Scott passed peacefully at the age of 87 surrounded by family, including his daughters Sally and Mary and his lovely wife, Paris. He was truly my second dad and am where I am today because of his generous spirit. Willard was a man of his times, the ultimate broadcaster. There will never be anyone quite like him.”

Who is Willard Scott? What were his roles?

According to The New York Times, Scott had a stellar career, playing Ronald McDonald on television. He also starred as a weatherman on the “Today” show beginning in 1980, where he was brought in to compete with ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

  • Scott was well known for wishing happy birthdays to people turning 100, which was a bit that gained heavy popularity over the years, according to Today.com.
  • Before that, Scott appeared as Ronald McDonald in commercials back in the 1960s. He also made an appearance as Bozo the Clown.
  • Throughout the ’80s, Scott dressed up as Santa Claus at the National Tree Lighting ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Willard Scott’s career, explained

Scott told People magazine that he was willing to make a fool of himself, even if it meant some people didn’t like him.

“I became a household word,” Willard said, “but I know, even if the rest of the world doesn’t, that buffooning is not what has made me work. I work because people know I love them. I also know that just the fact that I’m alive offends some people. I’m big, overpowering, flamboyant and loud. That’s a turnoff, but some people see a heart to this beast. I might put my foot in my mouth five times out of six, but the sixth time, I strike a chord, and people respond.”