Andy Rooney died yesterday. With his death we lost the voice of a generation. He was 92 years old. Back in 1943 he was one of six correspondents flying (along with my grandfather) with the Eighth Air Force on the second American bombing raid over Germany. He was also one of the first American journalists to visit the Nazi concentration camps at the end of WWII. Later, he went on to write a book about his experiences entitled “My War”.
Rooney was best known, however, for his post-WWII career and most of all for his cantankerous commentaries during the long running CBS news-magazine show “60 Minutes”. He would comment about such varied topics such as “Is there really a God?” to lamentations on things he found in his desk drawer. You have to admire that kind of versatility.
Rooney was known to have played the part of the skeptic from time to time as in his July 2nd, 1978 edition of “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” where he complained about people who keep track of how many people die in car accidents on holiday weekends. In fact, he said, the Fourth of July is “one of the safest weekends of the year to be going someplace.” Then there was his piece on whether there was a real Mrs. Smith behind all of the marketing hype of Mrs. Smith’s Pies. He went to the factory where they made the pies and asked several employees if he could see Mrs. Smith. Turns out, there was no Mrs. Smith. He won an Emmy for that piece.
“I obviously have a knack for getting on paper what a lot of people have thought and didn’t realize they thought,” Rooney once said. “And they say, `Hey, yeah!’ And they like that.”
Rooney’s opinions got him in a bit of hot water from time to time. CBS suspended him for three months in 1990 for making racist remarks in an interview, which he denied. Gay rights groups were mad, during the AIDS epidemic, when Rooney mentioned homosexual unions in saying “many of the ills which kill us are self-induced.” Indians protested when Rooney suggested Native Americans who made money from casinos weren’t doing enough to help their own people.
“I’m in a position of feeling secure enough so that I can say what I think is right and if so many people think it’s wrong that I get fired, well, I’ve got enough to eat,” Rooney said at the time.
Rooney so dreaded the day he had to retire from journalism that he just kept working straight on through to the age of 92. As it turned out, he never did have to retire; he died of complications from minor surgery just one month after delivering his 1,097th televised commentary.
For his final essay, Rooney said that he’d lived a life luckier than most.“I wish I could do this forever. I can’t, though,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of complaining here, but of all the things I’ve complained about, I can’t complain about my life”. Andy, you’ll be missed.
Andy Rooney Dead: Former ’60 Minutes’ Commentator Dies at 92 Years Old – The Huffington Post
Andy Rooney, who shared wry musings in decades of ’60 Minutes’ commentaries, dies at 92 – The Washington Post
Andy Rooney Dies: End of an Era – The Washington Times
Andy Rooney – Wikipedia