Ebullient television personality Willard Scott, who entertained millions for decades as the weather presenter on NBC's "Today," has died at 87.
Al Roker, who succeeded Scott in 1996 after his semi-retirement, confirmed the news, posting on social media that the long-running network morning show "lost a beloved member" of its family.
"Willard Scott passed peacefully at the age of 87 surrounded by family, including his daughters Sally and Mary and his lovely wife, Paris," Roker wrote on Instagram. "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."
Born in Alexandria, Va., in 1934, Scott began his broadcasting career in 1950, working as a page on NBC radio station WRC in Washington, D.C. In 1955, Scott began hosting the "Joy Boys" radio show, which ran until 1974. Scott also served in the U.S. Navy in the mid-to-late 1950s.
Scott also began hosting children's television shows in the 1960s, including portraying the iconic Bozo the Clown on WRC-TV, NBC's Washington, D.C., affiliate and WRC radio's sister television station.
Scott also holds the honor of being the first person to portray McDonald's mascot Ronald McDonald in a series of television commercials in 1963.
In 1980, Scott became the weatherman on the "Today" show and became known for his larger-than-life personality – including stunts such as dressing up as Boy George, Cupid on Valentine's Day, and even Carmen Miranda to secure a donation to the United Service Organizations (USO).
''People said I was a buffoon to do it,'' Scott told The New York Times in a 1987 interview. ''Well, all my life I've been a buffoon. That's my act.''
Scott also began a tradition in 1983 by honoring a viewer's request to wish his mother a happy 100th birthday, beginning a tradition of of sending greetings to centenarians that lasted for decades.
Scott semi-retired from the show in 1996 and was replaced by Roker, doing occasional fill-ins and guest spots until his formal retirement in 2015, ending a 35-year stint on "Today."
According to "Today," Scott is survived by his wife, Paris Keena, who he married in 2014.