In greater than three a long time with “Today,” Mr. Scott traversed the nation, delivering the climate on location at county festivals, city parades and quaint byways throughout America, in addition to from NBC’s studios in New York.
A frequent visitor on late-night TV, he was a spokesman for a spread of charitable causes and a industrial pitchman with huge tv publicity — too huge, some critics maintained.
The issues he endorsed included Howard Johnson Motor Lodges, True Value Hardware, Burger King, Lipton tea, Maxwell House espresso, the American Dairy Association, the Florida Citrus Commission, Diet Coke, USA Today and lots of others.
“A huckster for all seasons,” The New York Times known as him in 1987.
Mr. Scott’s onscreen persona — by his personal account little totally different from his offscreen persona — divided viewers. Some adored him, inundating him with items, which he would possibly show on the air. (Among them, the 1987 article in The Times reported, was “an airplane built out of Diet Coke cans.”)
In January 1989, the nation’s new first woman, Barbara Bush, broke ranks from the inaugural parade for her husband, George H.W. Bush, to dart over to Mr. Scott, broadcasting from the sidelines, and plant an impromptu kiss on his cheek.
“I don’t know Willard Scott,” Mrs. Bush defined afterward. “I just love that face.”
Then once more, as The Boston Globe reported in 1975, there was this incident, from Mr. Scott’s days at WRC: “He was pushing a shopping cart in a Virginia supermarket recently when a little old lady charged by and smacked him with her umbrella. ‘I can’t stand you,’ she said.”