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Former well-known weatherman for “Today,” Willard Scott, has passed away at the age of 87. He was known for his good-natured, extrovert personality, and for commemorating the lives of viewers who reached their 100th birthdays. According to the Washington Post, Scott died in his home in Delaplane, Virginia.
He was born on March 7, 1934, in Alexandria, Virginia. During his adolescent years, he organized a radio club on his block. As a teenager, he spent his Friday nights at Washington D.C.’s local station WPIK.
Scott launched a high school radio show, “Lady Make Believe,” after an announcer became his friend. The announcer made him the announcer of the high school program. Soon “Lady Make Believe” gained success which led to three other youth-oriented shows launching on other stations.
After graduating from American University, in 1955, he served in the Navy. From late 1950 to late 1962, he portrayed Bozo the Clown on Washington D.C.’s PBS channel.
Then from 1963 to 1965, the actor turned weatherman portrayed Ronald McDonald (originally named Donald McDonald) in the McDonald’s commercial advertisements. He was their very first redheaded clown. The company dropped him when their ads went nationally — opting for a thinner Ronald McDonald.
His wife, Paris Keena Scott, confirmed his death, however, she did not cite a specific cause. Fellow weatherman Al Roker took to Twitter to announce his passing.
We lost Willard Scott. [He] Passed peacefully at 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 truly a broadcast #icon.
Many of his friends and former colleagues paid tribute to Scott following news of his passing. One of his fans, Rana, tweeted, “RIP Willard Scott! My condolences go out to your family & friends at this time. Thank you for the wonderful legacy & memories you left behind. You will be so deeply missed & loved by so many & will never be forgotten. Godspeed.”
Another person on Twitter, Jack Blaine, called him “‘The ultimate broadcaster’.” Blaine added, “… beloved ‘Today’ show weatherman, dead at 87.” Many others stated how sad they were he did not make reach his “100th birthday.”
He is survived by his daughters, wife, family, and friends. May he rest in peace.
Written by Sheena Robertson
CNN: Willard Scott, longtime weatherman for ‘Today,’ dies at 87; by Deanna Hackney
Washington Post: Willard Scott, ‘Today’ show weatherman and resident merrymaker, dies at 87; by Bob Levey
IMDb: Willard Scott
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Alan Light’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License