‘Today’s’ Willard Scott, 1st Ronald McDonald, Dies @ 87

Willard Scott did not make it to the front of the Smucker's jar. Famous for announcing the birthdays of centenarians using the sponsor's jelly jars on Today from 1980-2015, Scott died at 87 Saturday.

His death was announced by his friend and successor, Al Roker, on Instagram. Roker wrote:

"We lost a beloved member of our @todayshow family this morning. Willard Scott passed peacefully at the age of 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 a man of his times, the ultimate broadcaster. There will never be anyone quite like him."

Former Today co-host Katie Couric tweeted:

"I am heartbroken that the much loved Willard Scott has passed away. He played such an outsized role in my life & was as warm & loving & generous off camera as he was on. Willard ... you changed so many lives for the better."

Scott was born in Alexandria, Virginia, on March 7, 1934. He broke into radio on Joy Boys on WRC, working there from 1955-1972, with a two-year absence while in the U.S. Navy.

From 1963-1968, he was TV's first Ronald McDonald in national spots for the hamburger chain. He was a radically different clown from the one we have come to know:

In 1980, Scott was hired as the weatherman for Today, and quickly became beloved for his folksy delivery.

Scott retired completely in 2015.

He is survived by his second wife, and by his two daughters.

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