Beloved Today weatherman Willard Scott passed away one year ago. He spent 30 years brightening mornings, but did you know he experienced quite the love story? Scott met his widow, Paris Keena, 37 years before they got married.
A Weather Refresher
Virginia’s favorite son, Scott got his start working in radio for NBC in 1955. He rose through the ranks of Washington DC media and made his way to television. He portrayed perhaps the two most famous clowns ever: Bozo and Ronald McDonald. That’s right, Scott was the original Ronald McDonald.
In 1959, he married Mary Dwyer Scott. The two had two children and stayed together until her death in 2002. Willard found a permanent home on Today in 1980. Bryant Gumbel infamously wrote a memo criticizing Willard for his sense of humor and bad taste, though the two eventually made up. Willard went part-time in 1996, ceding his weather gig to Al Roker. He still stayed on to wish centenarians — people who make it to 100 years — a happy birthday. All in all, Scott worked for NBC for over 50 years.
The The Second Marriage Of Willard Scott
About a year before his final retirement, Willard Scott married Paris Keena just after his 80th birthday. The two had been a couple for 11 years prior to the wedding, splitting time between Florida, Virginia, and Connecticut. Matt Lauer announced their marriage on the show as “another surprise wedding,” on account of Savannah Guthrie having just announced her wedding the very same week. Keena told Today at the time: “Our whole life has been a honeymoon.”
In a love story fit for a movie, the two had actually met decades earlier in 1977. Both Willard and Keena worked for WRC-TV, NBC’s Washington D.C. affiliate, with Willard being the weatherman at the time.
Love Takes Time
To put this into perspective, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck took about 22 years to get married after meeting. Scott and Keena took 37. The couple met when Jimmy Carter was president, started dating in the George Bush era, and tied the knot during the Barack Obama administration. No matter how you slice it, it’s pretty adorable.
Keena and Scott never lost contact with each other. After Mary’s death in 2002, the two kindled a romantic relationship. They stayed together through Scott’s death last year. Scott and Keena were friends for 25 years, dated for 11, and were married for six. Scott’s memory remains with Keena and in generations of Today viewers.