Willie Geist: What my father has given me 

Willie and Bill Geist in 2011 at the  Bill Geist Hollywood Walk Of Fame Induction  in Hollywood, California.
Willie and Bill Geist in 2011 at the Bill Geist Hollywood Walk Of Fame Induction in Hollywood, California. Valerie Macon / Today

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
SUBSCRIBE
By Willie Geist

There are a lot of things about my Dad that I probably shared from the moment I slipped into Dr. LaPata’s waiting arms at Evanston Hospital in Illinois on May 3, 1975: My dad’s sense of humor, his curiosity, his nose for B.S., his love of telling a story, or better yet writing a story, all seem to have been in the DNA. There was no specific moment growing up when these things came to me – they just always were there. The only thing I missed out on was my dad’s curly red hair. That belongs to him.

Willie and Bill Geist in 2011 at the Bill Geist Hollywood Walk Of Fame Induction in Hollywood, California. Valerie Macon / Today

I do remember vividly sometime after puberty when I’d answer the phone at home and the callers began to say, “Hi, Bill!”. That’s when I knew Dad and I had the same voice. I probably should have used that to my advantage somehow – ordering liquor over the phone in high school, for example (“Yes, Chuck, just put it on the account. How are the kids?”). I’m not sure we sound as much alike any more, but for a while there we could have been voice doubles.

Hopefully it’s a voice I’ll pass on, even if not literally, to my own son. A voice that’s funny. A voice that knows when to listen. A voice that’s looking for a reason to laugh. There’s no other voice I’d want to have. Well, except for Morgan Freeman’s. But then definitely my dad’s after that.

The Geist family in the early 1990s: Bill, Jody (holding the family cat), Willie, then 17, and Libby, 12.Michael A. Smith / Today