In more than three decades with “Today,” Mr. Scott has crisscrossed the country, delivering the weather on the spot at county fairs, town parades and scenic drives across America, as well as from the studios. from NBC in New York.
A frequent guest on late-night television, he was a spokesperson for various charitable causes and a commercial pitchman with wide television exposure – too broad, some critics argued.
Concerns he endorsed included Howard Johnson Motor Lodges, True Value Hardware, Burger King, Lipton Tea, Maxwell House Coffee, American Dairy Association, Florida Citrus Commission, Diet Coke, USA Today and many more. .
“A huckster for all seasons,” called him The New York Times in 1987.
Mr. Scott’s on-screen character – according to his own account, little different from his off-screen character – has divided viewers. Some adored him, flooding him with gifts he could deploy on the air. (Among them, the 1987 Times article reported that it was “an airplane built from cans of Diet Coke.”)
In January 1989, the country’s new first lady, Barbara Bush, broke ranks at the inaugural parade for her husband, George HW Bush, to rush over to Mr. Scott, broadcasting from the sidelines, and plant an impromptu kiss on his face. play.
“I don’t know Willard Scott,” said Mrs. Bush afterwards. “I love that face.”
Again, as the Boston Globe reported in 1975, there was this incident, dating from Mr. Scott’s time at the WRC: “He was pushing a shopping cart in a supermarket in Virginia recently when a little old lady walked over. ‘charged and hit him with his umbrella. “I can’t stand you,” she said. “