Matt Lauer’s memorable moments on TODAY

Matt Lauer assumed the anchor chair Jan. 6, 1997. And it's been quite the ride since; he's interviewed three sitting presidents, broadcasted from seven Olympic Games and circled the world more than 10 times. See images of his most iconic moments.

Jane Pauley and Bryant Gumbel returned to the TODAY show for Matt Lauer's birthday on Dec. 30, 2013.

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Matt Lauer gets his beard trimmed live on air to celebrate the end of "No Shave November" on Dec. 2, 2013.

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Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie, and Matt Lauer bundle up before the 87th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 28, 2013.

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Matt sat down with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his brother in an interview that aired Nov. 19, 2013, in which Ford admitted his flaws, but blasted his critics and insisted he was fit to serve. Ford, who has admitted to smoking crack cocaine and driving drunk, called the actions "very few isolated incidents."


Matt, along with TODAY's other male anchors, grew a beard during "No Shave November" on Nov. 11, 2013.

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Natalie Morales, Savannah Guthrie, Matt Lauer, and Al Roker wear fake beards on Oct. 31, 2013.

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Matt dresses as C.J. Parker, the iconic character played by Pam Anderson in "Baywatch," on TODAY's Halloween show on Oct. 31, 2013.

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Matt tries out a pair of skis on the plaza on Oct. 29, 2013, as TODAY starts counting down to the Sochi Olympics in February on NBC.

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Matt wears fox ears as he watches Ylvis perform on TODAY on Oct. 11, 2013.

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Matt Lauer sat down with Miley Cyrus on the TODAY show Oct. 7, 2013, for a conversation in which the singer said she'd heard that "old" people, like those over 40, "don't have sex anymore." Upon learning that Matt was 55, Miley added: "Oh, well then, you're really, definitely, not sexual."

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Matt with Robert De Niro on the TODAY show on Sept. 13, 2013.

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Matt gets pierced by his secret Santa gift from Savannah -- a cactus -- on Dec. 14. 2012.

Matt sits with Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker to host the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 22, 2012.

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Matt appears on the Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together fundraiser that benefitted Red Cross relief efforts on Nov. 2, 2012.

Heidi Gutman / Episodic

Matt "surfs" his way to Studio 1A in style on Oct. 26.

Peter Kramer / Episodic

Matt Lauer strolls with Facebook chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, Calif. on Oct. 4, 2012.

Mark Harnack / Facebook / Episodic

Matt Lauer recreates the iconic photo of Michael Jordan's incredible dunk, in a segment which aired on TODAY on Aug. 14, 2012.

Meredith Vieira comes back to join Matt during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Dave Hogan / Episodic

Matt takes a photo with Savannah, Natalie and Al high above London from the London Eye on July 31, 2012 while there covering the Summer Olympics.

Dave Hogan / Episodic

Matt offers a warm welcome to Savannah Guthrie on her first official day as co-anchor on July 9, 2012.

Peter Kramer / Episodic

Justin Bieber helps Matt join Twitter on June 15, harnassing the power of the young star's social reach: "I want to find out the power of Bieber," Matt said.

Peter Kramer / Episodic

Matt shares a tender moment with Howard Stern on May 10, 2012.

Peter Kramer / Episodic

Matt Lauer chats with actor Sacha Baron Cohen, who stayed in character while promoting his film, "The Dictator," on May 7, 2012.

Peter Kramer / Episodic

Matt joins Savannah Guthrie and Amy Robach in Studio 1A for a laugh on April 20, 2012.

Charles Sykes / Episodic

Matt Lauer sat down with Lindsay Lohan on March 1 to talk about her high-profile years in the spotlight. Lohan told Matt, "I regret the choices that I've made, but I'm grateful for where I am today because of them."

Peter Kramer / Episodic

TODAY turns 60! Matt lines up with the show's talent, past and present, to celebrate its 60th anniversary episode on Jan. 13, 2012.

Peter Kramer / Episodic

Matt poses with the team at the Edison Ballroom in New York to celebrate the 60th anniversary of TODAY on Jan. 12, 2012.

Heidi Gutman / Event

Matt welcomes Ann Curry on her first day as official co-anchor on June 9, 2011.

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Matt hugs Meredith Vieira during her final show on June 8, 2011. Watch his emotional send-off here.

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Matt carries the Olympic flame during the Olympic torch relay in Burnaby, British Columbia, on Feb. 11, 2010.

Darryl Dyck / CP

Matt talked with Kanye West on TODAY about the comments he made regarding Pres. George W. Bush's handling of Hurricane Katrina. The former president became visibly angry in an earlier interview with Matt when asked about West, who said after Katrina that Bush "didn't care about black people." Bush called it "one of the most disgusting moments” of his presidency. West responded in November 2010 that "it's just not right" to label someone as a racist in a moment of emotion.

Peter Kramer / Episodic

Matt talked with former President George W. Bush in his first one-on-one television interview since leaving the Oval Office. In the November 2010 interview, Bush defended the use of waterboarding and expanded surveillance programs as "necessary" and pushed back at his critics. "This may sound strange to you, but I really don't care about perceptions at this point in time. I served. I gave it my all. And I'm a content man," Bush said.

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Matt as Luke Skywalker and Meredith Vieira as Princess Leia, from "Star Wars," pose during TODAY's annual Halloween show in 2009.

Richard Drew / AP

Matt interviewed Elizabeth Edwards in May 2009 in her first TV interview since separating from her husband, John Edwards. She talked about her kids, the lessons she taught them and how she wished to live for eight more years to see her son through high school. She later died of cancer in December 2010.

Richard Drew / AP

Matt spoke with British Princes Harry, left, and William as they walk on the grounds of their London residence, Clarence House, in May 2007. In their first American television interview, the princes spoke about coping with the death of their mother, Princess Diana. They said their grieving process has been a long one, bereft of "peace and quiet" because of nonstop media attention.

Miss Piggy popped out of a cake to surprise Matt during the co-anchor's 10th anniversary show in 2007. She serenaded him and gave him a kiss!

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Matt Lauer dressed as Herman Munster to celebrate TODAY's Halloween Monster Bash in 2007.

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Singer Britney Spears poses with Matt during an interview at which she talked about motherhood and the tabloids criticism of her in June 2006.

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Matt reads to children from Promesa ll Institute during Jumpstart's "Read for the Record", a national campaign to set a Guinness world record for the largest shared reading experience ever in August 2006.

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Matt laughs with Meredith as she surprises him by smearing frosting from a cake on his nose during her first day on TODAY, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2006 in New York. Watch the funny moment at the end of this clip.

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Matt conducted an interview with Amber Frey in a special "Dateline NBC" in January 2005. Frey recounted her romantic relationship with Scott Peterson, who was recently convicted of the murder of his wife Laci and his unborn son, in intimate detail.

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Matt and Al treat the audience to their fine singing during Destiny Child's performance on the Toyota Concert Series stage in July 2005.

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Matt has sat with hundreds of politicians and celebrities, but his interview with Tom Cruise in June 2005 generated headlines heard round the world. The discussion got heated when Matt asked the actor about his views on psychiatry and the use of medicine to treat mental conditions. Tom had previously spoken out against actress Brooke Shields, who said she used both to fight postpartum depression. "She doesn't understand the history of psychiatry," Tom told Matt, calling it a "pseudoscience."

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From Humpty Dumpty to Herman Munster, from Batman to Superman, Matt has pulled off some great Halloween characters. In this photo from 2004, Matt dressed up as Paris Hilton, Katie Couric was Donald Trump, Al Roker was Oprah Winfrey and Ann Curry, right, was Tina Turner.

Richard Drew / AP

Matt shakes hands and poses for pictures with soldiers following a TODAY broadcast in March 2003 at Camp As Saliyah in Doha, Qatar, the site of the United States Central Command.

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Former TODAY hosts Jane Pauley and Bryant Gumbel appeared on the show with Matt and Katie Couric during a three-hour retrospective to celebrate the show's 50th anniversary on Jan. 14, 2002.

Stuart Ramson / AP

Matt interviewed President Bill Clinton live from Public School 96 in New York in June 2000, where the saxophone player made remarks about the importance of music to students. Matt's chatted with all three sitting presidents during his time on the broadcast.

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In year two of his "Where in the World" tour, Matt landed on the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Ionian Sea. During the May 1999 broadcast, Matt talked to members of the Air Force, including Captain David R. Bryant, who were en route to rejoining NATO operations in Yugoslavia.

U.s. Navy / Getty Images North America

Matt and Ann talk to fans outside the TODAY studio at Rockefeller Center in September 1999. He's greeted hundreds of thousands of fans over the past 15 years.

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Six days before then-first lady Hillary Clinton was scheduled to appear on TODAY, news broke that an investigator was looking into claims that President Bill Clinton had committed adultery with Monica Lewinsky and that he had urged her to lie about it in a sworn affidavit. In an interview with Matt, Hillary delivered a forceful defense of her husband, calling the claims part of a "vast right-wing conspiracy."

Matt Lauer and the TODAY team reported live from the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx in 1998 as part of the inaugural broadcast of the "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?" series. His first trip was so successful that he went on nine more throughout the years.

Matt stands with Bryant Gumbel on TODAY's set in studio 1a in New York City in December 1996. Matt took over as co-anchor when Gumble left the show in January 1997 after 15 years.

Matt Lauer assumed the anchor chair Jan. 6, 1997, and it's been quite the ride since. He's interviewed three sitting presidents, broadcasted from seven Olympic Games and circled the world more than 10 times. Click through images of his most iconic moments.

Before becoming co-anchor of TODAY, Matt was the show's news anchor. Here he shares a moment during an undated live broadcast with Tom Brokaw and former show co-anchors, Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel.