The Transformation Of Al Roker From 20 To 67 Years Old

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America's weatherman Al Roker has been on-air longer than most people who are reading this have been alive. Funnily enough, that was never his intention at the start of his career. "I had zero interest in being on TV," he admitted to Inc. Now, the weatherman has more than a dozen Emmy awards to his name.

It all started when Roker, who was the oldest of six siblings, headed off to school to pursue higher education. Up until then, he had never even considered anything that had to do with entertainment — or meteorology, for that matter. Now, no one can even imagine turning on the "Today" show without seeing Roker reporting on "what's happening in your neck of the woods." Yet, over the course of his career, he's done a lot more than just report on the local weather. "I've been very fortunate. I've gotten to do a lot of different things in my career," he said during an interview on the Hallmark Channel — like becoming a Broadway star, a best-selling novelist, and even a chef.

From when he first stepped foot on a news set at age 20 to how he's still going strong on the "Today" show at 67 years old, this is the transformation of Al Roker.

Al Roker became a weatherman before he even graduated college

Al Roker grew up wanting to work in the world of animation. However, it always seemed like he was destined for something more. According to Inc., his parents encouraged him not to attend art school, and instead, he ended up at SUNY Oswego, a small public university in New York. "You got a lot more hands-on experience, and smaller classes and professors who knew you," Roker said of the benefits of its small size. During those classes, one of his professors immediately recognized Roker's talent for TV and recommended him to a news station in his neck of the woods.

In 1974, WHEN-TV in Syracuse, New York (which is WTVH-5 now) was looking for a weekend weatherman. At the time, the station's news director told Roker he could "only afford a drunk or a college student," per So for only $10 a day, the college student was given the job.

When Roker was in his senior year, the station's full-time weatherman uttered something inappropriate on-air — whoops — and didn't return to work after being temporarily suspended. Luckily, Roker already knew the ropes and was the perfect full-time replacement. Once graduation rolled around, he moved on to reporting the weather at WTTG in Washington D.C.

He began his lifelong career at NBC

After a few years of reporting the weather in Washington D.C., Al Roker was ready for a change of scenery. That's when NBC came calling. In 1978, he found himself at an affiliate station in Cleveland, Ohio, before hitting it big as the weekend weatherman at WNBC in New York City. However, those hours didn't last long. According to Inc., Roker was quickly promoted to reporting on the popular weeknights instead. Though it was only a local newscast, his fame eventually escalated due to a certain national television show — that wasn't even the news.

Across the hall was where "Late Night with David Letterman" was shot. Because of the close proximity of the sets, Letterman would repeatedly run over to WNBC and interrupt Roker's live broadcasts during tapings of his talk show. "We had one news director, who had no sense of humor, order the doors locked during the Letterman show," Roker reminisced on "Today." "That only lasted about two days." Thanks to his appearances on a national late-night talk show, the weatherman started receiving widespread attention. He became the go-to guy to sub for other weathermen in the area — specifically those from the network's national shows "NBC News at Sunrise" and then the "Today" show.

Al Roker made his debut in show business

Not even Al Roker could have predicted the level of fame he found himself favored with. By 1993, the national weatherman had a pretty recognizable face in pop culture. That year, he made his acting debut as himself in an episode of "Seinfeld." Elaine did a double-take when she encountered him on the subway and realized that his smiling face was on the copy of TV Guide in her hand.

Over the years, Roker has played many more roles on screen. Watch closely, and you can also catch him in "Men in Black," "30 Rock," "The Blacklist," "Will & Grace," and five of the "Sharknado" films. He even created his own production company in 1994 so that he could make his very own content for television — and his time on TV still doesn't stop there. Listen closely, and you'll hear him lend his voice to some famous animated characters, too, from "Kung Fu Panda 3" to "The Simpsons." He even voiced weathermen like himself in "Superman: The Animated Series" and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2." "It was a real stretch for me," he joked on The Weather Channel.

The weatherman wed the woman of his dreams

While Al Roker's professional life was on the rise, the relationship he had with his second wife wasn't doing as well. By 1992, he had officially separated from NBC producer Alice Bell. Yet, soon after their split, he found himself smitten with another woman in the news biz, television journalist Deborah Roberts, who went from filling in on "Today" to working as a correspondent on NBC's "Dateline." "I remember seeing her up on a monitor doing a news report and thinking, 'Wow, this is one of the most stunningly beautiful women I've ever seen,'" Roker reminisced to People.

After being friend-zoned by Roberts for nearly two years, Roker was busy apartment sitting for this "friend" when he decided to make a flirty move. While Roberts was away reporting on the Olympics, he restocked her kitchen and left behind a bouquet of flowers on her table. "And then I got my first date with her a week later," Roker said on "The Kelly Clarkson Show." In 1995, the two made their relationship official and tied the knot in New York.

Today, he and his wife share two children together, Leila and Nicholas, as well as co-parent his daughter Courtney from his previous marriage.

Al Roker unintentionally ended up on the Today show

After subbing again and again for weatherman Willard Scott on the "Today" show, Al Roker received some big news in 1996. The iconic weather forecaster announced that he would be retiring, and Roker was experienced enough to take his place on the national morning show — though that was, surprisingly, never what he intended to happen. "I kind of backed into doing the 'Today' show,' mostly because I was, you know, close by," Roker admitted during an interview on "Behind the Brand." "And I could wear Willard's pants."

From that moment on, Roker was seen every weekday reporting the weather in every neck of the woods. It was all thanks to the weatherman before him, who truly took him under his wing. "Willard was the 'Today' show weatherperson, beloved, literally like a second dad to me," he told Inc. "And he was the one who said, ya know what? I think it's time to step back, and I'm telling them they're crazy if they don't tap you." Considering Roker is now an Emmy-winning weatherman, we'd have to say NBC isn't so crazy after all.

The Today star hit the road and headed to the Food Network

As if hosting a national morning show wasn't enough, Al Roker further honed his hosting skills in the early aughts by using them to enlighten fans about another one of his passions: cooking. "I did a special for the Food Network on the Memphis in May BBQ Fest, and that led to another special, and another," he explained to Food & Wine. By 2004, he found himself with his very own Food Network show called "Roker on the Road." On the series, Roker could be seen traveling across the country and tasting delicious food. What made his debut on the network unique was his weatherman's perspective on the restaurant industry. "I'm a normal guy. I'm not a chef," he said. "I don't own a restaurant, so I really speak to and for the viewer."

Though Roker doesn't continue to shoot the show today — after all, he's much too busy with his successful career on the "Today" show — he's still always excited to share recipes with fans.

Al Roker wrote his first book

Al Roker decided to share his life story in 2000. That year, he released his first book that gave fans an inside look at his personal life. "Don't Make Me Stop This Car!: Adventures in Fatherhood" is a collection of short stories that shined the spotlight on his life as — you guessed it — a father. His story didn't stop there, either. He's since released eight more nonfiction books, some about his life and even cookbooks featuring his favorite recipes.

In 2010, he decided to make up a story this time and released his first fiction novel titled "The Morning Show Murders." "I've always loved mysteries, and I always wanted to write a murder mystery," Roker explained to the Hallmark Channel. "And they said, 'Write what you know,' so I wrote about a chef who's also on a morning show." Obviously, it only made sense that it was actually made into a show as well. In 2018, his book series became a mini-series on the Hallmark Channel titled "Morning Show Mysteries" – and, of course, he showed off his acting chops by making multiple cameos on the show.

He lost over 100 pounds

Though Al Roker was the most famous weatherman in the country, he wasn't happy with himself behind the scenes. "Despite having a loving wife, three terrific children, and a great career, there were times when I ­perhaps didn't feel that I was good enough," he admitted to Parade in 2012. "If I was having a bad day, eating was like self-­medicating." By 2002, he found himself weighing around 340 pounds.

It wasn't until he was visiting his father in the hospital that he decided to make a change. A week before he passed away, Roker promised his dad that he would become healthy and lose weight. He signed himself up for gastric bypass surgery in 2002 and rapidly shed about 150 pounds. However, after his mother was hospitalized in 2008, he found himself putting the pounds back on.

It wasn't until he ran into an old friend that Roker realized that he really needed to take care of his health. After a visit with a nutritionist, he quickly began losing weight again and got his health back on track. "I'm thrilled that I've finally got to this place at 58 years old," he said on "Today" in 2013. "I finally got it figured out."

Al Roker set a world record in weather reporting

Since 2014, Al Roker has been breaking world records on the small screen through a special he calls "Rokerthon." It all started on an episode of "Today" where he spent 34 hours straight broadcasting the longest uninterrupted live weather report in existence. (Talk about dedication!) Every year since, he's worked with weathermen and weatherwomen across the country to continue to break records from the "Guinness World Records" book.

As of 2021, Roker has five world records to his name from his "Today" show segments — everything from reporting the weather from all 50 states within one week, working with the largest number of sandwich makers in an online relay, and reporting alongside the most weathermen online during a relay on the morning show's website.

Yet, while fans think they may have seen it all on "Today," it turns out that Roker holds an additional world record on another famous television show. No one has appeared on "Conan" more than the weatherman. How? Well, he used to report the weather right across the hall from Conan O'Brien's own set. "And whenever somebody couldn't make it, I was like this ready guest," Roker told Whalebone Magazine. "Not so much that I was that talented." Seeing as Roker has been a staple on our small screens for nearly 50 years, we'd have to disagree with that statement.

The weatherman moved from the screen to the stage

In 2018, Al Roker decided to add Broadway actor to his lengthy list of achievements. That year, he was cast in the musical "Waitress." Though the weatherman is always up for a new challenge, he was hesitant about ever stepping foot on a stage — especially since he had to sing. "It would be like Lin-Manuel Miranda waking up one morning and saying 'you know what? I want to do the weather on a network morning show,'" Roker told Broadway World.

It was actor William Shatner, of all people, who inspired Roker to give it a try. "I got a great piece of advice from William Shatner doing this series called 'Living Legends,'" he said. "I asked him about the secret to his success and career longevity and he said always say yes." What was even more encouraging for Roker was receiving his daughter's approval, considering she was an acting major.

Though he only accepted a limited run for his Broadway role, he loved performing live on stage. The following year, he showed up once again in "Waitress" for a few more shows. However, there was one downside to it all. "I hate to break this to everyone, I don't know if I'm allowed to, but those pies are all fake. I didn't know that," he said. "I was hoping for pie and these things come up and I'm like what the heck? Wait a minute. So I don't get to really eat pie?"

Al Roker celebrated 40 years at NBC

It's hard to remember a time when we didn't see Al Roker on TV. In fact, it's actually been quite a while. In 2018, Al Roker found himself celebrating 40 years at the famous NBC network. During an episode of the "Today" show, his cast and crew celebrated with a special segment and even renamed Rockefeller Plaza "Rokerfeller Plaza" in his honor.

While being on the national newscast for 22 of those years has been his claim to fame, simply ending up on TV at all had always been a dream come true for Roker. "From the moment I stepped foot at WKYZ in Cleveland, when it was owned by NBC, to getting a job at WNBC, I thought I had died and gone to Heaven because my parents could actually turn on the TV and see me," he said while on "Today." And now millions of people get to watch him every morning on the network.

He took over the 3rd Hour of the Today show

After appearing on multiple segments of "Today," Al Roker opted to report on more than just the weather in 2019. Shortly after Megyn Kelly left the show, it was announced that a new "3rd Hour of Today" would air featuring Roker alongside his co-hosts Dylan Dreyer, Sheinelle Jones, and Craig Melvin. "If the 'Today' show and a talk show had a baby it would be us," he explained to People.

For over two decades, Roker has been a staple of the morning show. Now that he's able to discuss his personal life even more on-screen during his newest segment, he's become incredibly close with his co-hosts. "We love each other, we support each other," he said. "But most importantly, these three people I literally trust my professional and my personal life to every day" — along with the millions of viewers watching every morning, of course.

Al Roker had a health scare that took him off the air

In November 2020, Al Roker shared some shocking news to kick off an episode of the "Today" show. After a routine doctor's visit, Roker had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. "The good news is we caught it early. [The] not great news is it's a little aggressive," he said. "So I'm going to be taking some time off to take care of this." That very same week, he went off-air and into surgery.

Two months later, Roker got some incredible news. His blood work now showed that the cancer-causing antigens in his body had been reduced dramatically. At that moment, his cancer was officially declared "undetectable," he told People, but he would have to continue with regular doctor's visits to make sure it stayed that way.

Ever since the weatherman shared his first diagnosis with fans, he's continued to be incredibly open about his health journey. "It's a little more common than people, I think, realize," he said. "So I just decided that I wanted to go public with this." According to his doctor, one in nine men will also have prostate cancer in their lives.

The Today star isn't slowing down anytime soon

Regardless of Al Roker's health or even his age, he's clearly not slowing down anytime soon. Yet, some fans freaked out when they saw him back out reporting on intense weather in 2021. When Hurricane Ida rolled around, of course Roker was standing in the center of it all. The category 4 storm nearly knocked him off his feet, and viewers took to Twitter to voice their concerns for the 67-year-old weatherman. "I volunteered to do this," he later wrote on social media himself. After all, shouldn't a weather reporter go out in raging storms so that all of us sitting safely at home don't have to?

Roker had more to say to the fans who weren't convinced about his safety. He wrote, "For those who think I'm too old to be doing this, try and keep up." So while many other weathermen may be dreaming about retirement, Roker surely won't be thinking about it anytime soon.