IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Jenna explains the connection between Willard Scott and her grandmother

"I think it was one of her life highlights," Jenna Bush Hager said about Barbara Bush surprising TODAY's Willard Scott with a kiss at the 1989 inaugural parade.
/ Source: TODAY

Legendary TODAY weatherman Willard Scott was known for his folksy affection on camera, but there is one kiss that stands above them all in his 65-year career with NBC.

Scott, who died at 87 on Sept. 4, was surprised by a spontaneous kiss from late first lady Barbara Bush while he was covering the 1989 inaugural parade in Washington, D.C., for late President George H.W. Bush.

"I think it was one of her life highlights," Bush's granddaughter Jenna Bush Hager said on TODAY Tuesday.

Watch TODAY All Day. Get the best news, information and inspiration from TODAY, all day long.

Scott was giggling after the first lady broke off her walk with her husband to give him a quick smooch.

"How ‘bout that!" he said on the broadcast. "I’ve been kissed by the best! I got kissed off by the president, but I got kissed by the first lady!"

George H.W. Bush looked over with a smile as his wife planted one on Scott.

"That was on the lips. My grandpa might've been jealous," Jenna joked before seeing the video of her grandfather's reaction. "See, he was jealous!"

Jenna first met the weatherman at the White House Egg Roll, and he was a beloved figure in her family to the point that they named a family cat Willard Bush in his honor. He also had a sweet bond with her grandmother after their fun moment at the inauguration.

"I emailed somebody that worked with her and she said, 'You know, they just really liked each other,'" Jenna said. "They said there was some sort of chemistry there where she said, 'I feel like they were flirting,' and obviously we have the proof."

The first lady, who died at 92 in 2018, talked about the moment on TODAY in 2015.

"Suddenly I look over and see this very happy face, race over, give that face a kiss, race back to George," she said. "He said, 'I didn't know you knew Willard Scott.' I said, 'I don't know Willard Scott. I just love that face.'"

Scott also often smacked a kiss on the forehead of his successor, TODAY's Al Roker.

"There was a lot of love, and he loved people," Al said on TODAY. "... Before mentoring, he took me under his wing. He put his arms around me, but he did that for a lot of people you didn't hear about."

Al has also carried on Scott's tradition of thrilling encounters at presidential inaugural parades. He fist-bumped President Joe Biden at his inauguration in January, and got a quick handshake from Biden in 2013 at President Barack Obama's second inaugural parade. He also previously got Obama's attention at his first inauguration parade in 2009.

Scott's bombastic personality and innate friendliness had former longtime "NBC Nightly News" anchor Tom Brokaw calling him "one of the most memorable performers I have ever worked with" on TODAY Tuesday.

"There was only one Willard Scott and it was just as well," Brokaw said in a video message. "We didn't have room in the studio for two Willard Scotts."

Former TODAY anchor Jane Pauley said Scott "brought fun," and former TODAY anchor Katie Couric summed up Scott's effect on people when remembering her fellow Virginia native.

"You could not look at Willard without smiling," she said.