Lovingly called “Uncle Willy” by his peers – Scott, 81, began his career as an NBC page in 1950. To date, he has spent over 12,000 mornings on the show and announced over 40,000 Smucker’s birthdays.
Tuesday morning’s program paid tribute to the man who Matt Lauer describes as “the heart and soul” of Today.
Al Roker was with Scott in Virginia as the anchors celebrated their longtime coworker and friend and reminisced on some of the highlights of his career.
From dressing up in costumes on air to the surprise kiss he received from Barbara Bush during her husband’s inauguration – Scott was known to make America smile.
The former First Lady even sent a special message to Scott for his retirement where she recalled the smooch.
President Bush said, “I didn’t know you knew Willard Scott!” to which the First Lady replied, “I don’t know Willard Scott – I just love that happy face!”
The Today team wrapped up Scott’s send off by revealing that Rockefeller Plaza had been named Willard Scott Way for the day and they all sang his favorite song “Happy Trails.”