Smucker’s pays tribute to Willard Scott on ‘jam jar’

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Smucker’s, the food company who has sponsored a longtime segment on NBC’s “Today” celebrating birthdays and other celebrations, paid tribute to Willard Scott, the former weatherman who once helmed the segment.

Scott, who died Sept. 4, 2021, at 87, started the practice of wishing centenarians happy birthday on “Today” back in 1983 and eventually Smucker’s, perhaps most famous for its jam and jelly products, signed on as sponsor, with each person’s photo and name appearing on a graphic simulating one of the company’s famous strawberry jelly jars.

Scott entered semi-retirement in 1996, but still appeared on “Today” from the parking lot of the NBC affiliate in Ft. Myers, Florida, near his home, twice a week.

Al Roker took over daily weather forecasting duties.

He retired completely from NBC in 2015, handing over the Smucker’s birthday segment to Roker.

The segment was later expanded to include well wishes for other milestones, including anniversaries over 75 years and babies’ first birthdays.

Smucker’s continued to sponsor the segment, but “Today” is responsible for accepting requests to be featured and selecting which ones appear on air. Viewers can submit nominations online.

Smucker’s posted a tribute to Scott, who also had provided voiceovers for its commercials, on Sept. 4, putting his face on the graphic of the jar.

“Our condolences to the family and friends of Willard Scott. He was a special person, and we are grateful to have had the privilege of partnering with him for more than two decades. May the smiles that he brought to others live on, well beyond 100 years,” the company said.