The Today Show

Willard Scott (1934–2021), longtime Today Show weatherman

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Willard Scott was the weatherman for “The Today Show” from 1980 to 1996, and he was the first actor to play the Ronald McDonald character for McDonald’s.Scott joined “The Today Show” when its anchors were Tom Brokaw and Jane Pauley, delivering the nationwide weather report.

In 1983, he began a practice that would become a tradition: wishing a happy birthday to centenarians. Throughout his years at “Today,” Scott brought his quirky sense of humor to the show, with antics including dressing up as Carmen Miranda and kissing a pig on-air.

While many viewers loved the way Scott lightened the news broadcast, he also received criticism, including in a leaked memo from anchor Bryant Gumbel, who complained of Scott’s “bad taste.” Scott publicly.

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