Willard Scott Announces Retirement After 35 Years on ‘Today' Show

After 65 years with NBC, and 35 years appearing on the "Today" show, veteran weather presenter Willard Scott announced Friday his plans for retirement.

81-year-old Scott will be celebrated with a special send-off on "Today" on Tuesday, December 15.

The Virginia native became the "Today" weatherman when he replaced Bob Ryan in 1980, and began his practice of wishing centenarians a happy birthday on the show in 1983. Scott went into semi-retirement in 1996 and was succeeded by current weather anchor Al Roker. Scott often appeared as a substitute for Roker over the years and continued to be a twice-weekly fixture on the morning program with his birthday shout-outs to centenarians across the country. 

 "He is literally my second dad," Roker said in a tweet from the "Today" account Friday. "I love that man." [[361568961,C]]

A celebrated author ("The Joy of Living," "America Is My Neighborhood") and actor ("Hogan's Family," "Bozo the Clown"), Scott started his career with NBC as a page in 1950 and in 1968 began reporting the weather for the NBC affiliate in Washington, DC, WRC-TV. He was awarded the Private Sector Award for Public Service from President Ronald Reagan in 1985.

While he is known to most Americans as the "Today" weatherman, Scott is credited as the originator of the Ronald McDonald character. He regularly performed the role from 1963 to 1966 and wrote in his book "The Joy of Living" that he originally created the character at the fast-food restaurant chain's request. [[361581441,C]]

Tune in to NBC's "Today" for Scott's full send-off on Tuesday. Join in the goodbye using #ThankYouWillard.

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