Andy Rooney, the longtime CBS commentator known for his humorous essays and stubborn ways, died Friday night in a New York City hospital from complications of minor surgery, CBS said. Rooney was 92.
“It’s a sad day at ’60 Minutes’ and for everybody here at CBS News,” said Jeff Fager, chairman of CBS News and the executive producer of “60 Minutes.” “It’s hard to imagine not having Andy around. He loved his life and he lived it on his own terms. We will miss him very much.”
CBS reported last week that Rooney was being hospitalized and had surgery, but at the request of his family, the network didn’t reveal why the proud writer and iconic news figure was having surgery.
Rooney signed off “60 Minutes” on Oct. 2, ending a 33-year run that included over 1,000 broadcasts. His 1,097 original essay was his last.
In that essay, Rooney, known to the world as the crankiest man on television, said: “Not many people in this world are not as lucky as I have been, when I was in high school I had an English teacher who told me I was a good writer, so I set out to become a writer myself. I made my living as a writer for 70 years now, been pretty good.”
The former commentator had been a contributor for “60 Minutes” since its inception in 1968. His full-time run started 10 years later with a segment reporting on automobile deaths that aired on Fourth of July weekend in 1978.
He first joined CBS in 1949 as a writer for “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts”—which was the No. 1 show on television in 1952.
During his final appearance on “60 Minutes,” Rooney sat down with his colleague Morley Safer, discussing his career and his interaction with fans.
Not a big believer in taking time out to provide his John Hancock to fans, Rooney told Safer that he has no intention of signing autographs during retirement.
“What kind of an idiot wants my name on a piece of paper?” he said with a grimace.
During his final essay, Rooney said: “All this time, I’ve been paid to say what’s on my mind on television. You don’t get any luckier than that. This is a moment I’ve dreaded. I wish I could do this forever. I can’t, though.”
Rooney was born Jan. 14, 1919 in Albany, and attended Colgate University. He was drafted into the Army in 1941 and in 1943, Rooney was one of six correspondents who flew with the Eighth Air Force on the first American bombing raid over Germany.