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Former '60 Minutes' commentator Andy Rooney dies

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Quigley_Sharps, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    NEW YORK (AP) — Andy Rooney so dreaded the day he had to end his signature "60 Minutes" commentaries about life's large and small absurdities that he kept going until he was 92 years old.
    Even then, he said he wasn't retiring. Writers never retire. But his life after the end of "A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney" was short: He died Friday night, according to CBS, only a month after delivering his 1,097th and final televised commentary.
    Rooney had gone to the hospital for an undisclosed surgery, but major complications developed and he never recovered.
    "Andy always said he wanted to work until the day he died, and he managed to do it, save the last few weeks in the hospital," said his "60 Minutes" colleague, correspondent Steve Kroft.
    Rooney talked on "60 Minutes" about what was in the news, and his opinions occasionally got him in trouble. But he was just as likely to discuss the old clothes in his closet, why air travel had become unpleasant and why banks needed to have important-sounding names.
    Rooney won one of his four Emmy Awards for a piece on whether there was a real Mrs. Smith who made Mrs. Smith's Pies. As it turned out, there was no Mrs. Smith.
    "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."
    Looking for something new to punctuate its weekly broadcast, "60 Minutes" aired its first Rooney commentary on July 2, 1978. 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."
    More than three decades later, he was railing about how unpleasant air travel had become. "Let's make a statement to the airlines just to get their attention," he said. "We'll pick a week next year and we'll all agree not to go anywhere for seven days."
    In early 2009, as he was about to turn 90, Rooney looked ahead to President Barack Obama's upcoming inauguration with a look at past inaugurations. He told viewers that Calvin Coolidge's 1925 swearing-in was the first to be broadcast on radio, adding, "That may have been the most interesting thing Coolidge ever did."
    "Words cannot adequately express Andy's contribution to the world of journalism and the impact he made — as a colleague and a friend — upon everybody at CBS," said Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp. president and CEO.
    Jeff Fager, CBS News chairman and "60 Minutes" executive producer, said "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."
    For his final essay, Rooney said that he'd live a life luckier than most.
    "I wish I could do this forever. I can't, though," he said.
    He said he probably hadn't said anything on "60 Minutes" that most of his viewers didn't already know or hadn't thought. "That's what a writer does," he said. "A writer's job is to tell the truth."
    True to his occasional crotchety nature, though, he complained about being famous or bothered by fans. His last wish from fans: If you see him in a restaurant, just let him eat his dinner.
    Rooney was a freelance writer in 1949 when he encountered CBS radio star Arthur Godfrey in an elevator and — with the bluntness millions of people learned about later — told him his show could use better writing. Godfrey hired him and by 1953, when he moved to TV, Rooney was his only writer.
    He wrote for CBS' Garry Moore during the early 1960s before settling into a partnership with Harry Reasoner at CBS News. Given a challenge to write on any topic, he wrote "An Essay on Doors" in 1964, and continued with contemplations on bridges, chairs and women.
    "The best work I ever did," Rooney said. "But nobody knows I can do it or ever did it. Nobody knows that I'm a writer and producer. They think I'm this guy on television."
    He became such a part of the culture that comic Joe Piscopo satirized Rooney's squeaky voice with the refrain, "Did you ever wonder ..." Rooney never started any of his essays that way. For many years, "60 Minutes" improbably was the most popular program on television and a dose of Rooney was what people came to expect for a knowing smile on the night before they had to go back to work.
    Rooney left CBS in 1970 when it refused to air his angry essay about the Vietnam War. He went on TV for the first time, reading the essay on PBS and winning a Writers Guild of America award for it.
    He returned to CBS three years later as a writer and producer of specials. Notable among them was the 1975 "Mr. Rooney Goes to Washington," whose lighthearted but serious look at government won him a Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting.
    His words sometimes landed Rooney in hot water. CBS suspended him for three months in 1990 for making racist remarks in an interview, which he denied. Rooney, who was arrested in Florida while in the Army in the 1940s for refusing to leave a seat among blacks on a bus, was hurt deeply by the charge of racism.
    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.
    The Associated Press learned the danger of getting on Rooney's cranky side. In 1996, AP Television Writer Frazier Moore wrote a column suggesting it was time for Rooney to retire. On Rooney's next "60 Minutes" appearance, he invited those who disagreed to make their opinions known. The AP switchboard was flooded by some 7,000 phone calls and countless postcards were sent to the AP mail room.
    "Your piece made me mad," Rooney told Moore two years later. "One of my major shortcomings — I'm vindictive. I don't know why that is. Even in petty things in my life I tend to strike back. It's a lot more pleasurable a sensation than feeling threatened."He was one of television's few voices to strongly oppose the war in Iraq after the George W. Bush administration launched it in 2002. After the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, he said he was chastened by its quick fall but didn't regret his "60 Minutes" commentaries.
    "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.
    Andrew Aitken Rooney was born on Jan. 14, 1919, in Albany, N.Y., and worked as a copy boy on the Albany Knickerbocker News while in high school. College at Colgate University was cut short by World War II, when Rooney worked for Stars and Stripes.
    With another former Stars and Stripes staffer, Oram C. Hutton, Rooney wrote four books about the war. They included the 1947 book, "Their Conqueror's Peace: A Report to the American Stockholders," documenting offenses against the Germans by occupying forces.
    Rooney and his wife, Marguerite, were married for 62 years before she died of heart failure in 2004. They had four children and lived in New York, with homes in Rowayton, Conn., and upstate New York. Daughter Emily Rooney is a former executive producer of ABC's "World News Tonight." Brian was a longtime ABC News correspondent, Ellen a photographer and Martha Fishel is chief of the public service division of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
    Services will be private, and it's anticipated CBS News will hold a public memorial later, Brian Rooney said Saturday.
    STANGF150, BTPost and dragonfly like this.
  2. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    All you Snopers have a ball:
    <tt>ubject: Andy Rooney</tt> <tt>Andy Rooney said on 60 minutes a few weeks back:
    (for those of you that don't know Andy Rooney, he is a 82 year old US TV commentator)</tt>
    <tt>I like big cars, big boats, big motorcycles, big houses and big campfires.</tt>
    <tt>I believe the money I make belongs to me and my family, not some governmental stooge with a bad comb-over who wants to give it away to crack addicts for squirting out babies.</tt>
    <tt>Guns do not make you a killer. I think killing makes you a killer. You can kill someone with a baseball bat or a car, but no one is trying to ban you from driving to the ball game.</tt>
    <tt>I believe they are called the Boy Scouts for a reason, that is why there are no girls allowed. Girls belong in the Girl Scouts! ARE YOU LISTENING MARTHA BURKE?</tt>
    <tt>I think that if you feel homosexuality is wrong, it is not a phobia, it is an opinion.</tt>
    <tt>I don't think being a minority makes you a victim of anything except numbers. The only things I can think of that are truly discriminatory are things like the United Negro College Fund, Jet Magazine, Black Entertainment Television, and Miss Black America. Try to have things like the United Caucasian College Fund, Cloud Magazine, White Entertainment Television, or Miss White America; and see what happens. Jesse Jackson will be knocking down your door.</tt>
    <tt>I have the right "NOT" to be tolerant of others because they are different, weird, or tick me off.</tt>
    <tt>When 70% of the people who get arrested are black, in cities where 70% of the population is black, that is not racial profiling, it is the Law of Probability.</tt>
    <tt>I know what sex is, and there are not varying degrees of it. If I received sex from one of my subordinates in my office, it wouldn't be a private matter or my personal business. I would be "FIRED" immediately!</tt>
    <tt>I believe that if you are selling me a milk shake, a pack of cigarettes, a newspaper or a hotel room, you must do it in English! As a matter of fact, if you want to be an American citizen, you should have to speak English!</tt>
    <tt>My father and grandfather didn't die in vain so you can leave the countries you were born in to come over and disrespect ours. I think the police should have every right to shoot your sorry self if you threaten them after they tell you to stop. If you can't understand the word "freeze" or "stop" in English, see the above lines.</tt>
    <tt>I feel much safer letting a machine with no political affiliation recount votes when needed. I know what the definition of lying is.</tt>
    <tt>I don't think just because you were not born in this country, you are qualified for any special loan programs, government sponsored bank loans or tax breaks, etc., so you can open a hotel, coffee shop, trinket store, or any other business.</tt>
    <tt>We did not go to the aid of certain foreign countries and risk our lives in wars to defend their freedoms, so that decades later they could come over here and tell us our constitution is a living document; and open to their interpretations.</tt>
    <tt>I don't hate the rich. I don't pity the poor. I know pro wrestling is fake, but so are movies and television. That doesn't stop you from watching them.</tt>
    <tt>I believe a self-righteous liberal or conservative with a cause is more dangerous than a Hell's Angel with an attitude.</tt>
    <tt>I think Bill Gates has every right to keep every penny he made and continue to make more. If it ticks you off, go and invent the next operating system that's better, and put your name on the building. Ask your buddy that invented the Internet to help you.</tt>
    <tt>It doesn't take a whole village to raise a child right, but it does take a parent to stand up to the kid; and smack their little behinds when necessary, and say "NO!"</tt>
    <tt>I think tattoos and piercing are fine if you want them, but please don't pretend they are a political statement. And, please, stay home until that new lip ring heals. I don't want to look at your ugly infected mouth as you serve me french fries!</tt>
    <tt>I am sick of "Political Correctness." I know a lot of black people, and not a single one of them was born in Africa; so how can they be "African-Americans"? Besides, Africa is a continent. I don't go around saying I am a European-American because my great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather was from Europe. I am proud to be from America and nowhere else.</tt>
    <tt>And if you don't like my point of view, tough. DON'T PASS IT ON!!</tt>
  3. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    Haven't watched 60 Minutes for years, but when we did, I thought his commentaries were the best part of it. He was definitiely an American icon to me.
    Opinionated likes this.
  4. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    America has lost a real Curmudgeon. I liked him, though there were times I praised him and times I cussed him. He had many sides, like each of us.

    RIP, Andy!
    Opinionated likes this.
  5. Gunny Highway

    Gunny Highway Hard Work and Sacrifice blessed by God's Grace Site Supporter

    I didn't watch weekly but at least the guy spoke his mind and exercised his 1st Amendment rights - God Bless the Bill of Rights. Andy Rooney for the most part was a voice of reason in this time of liberal overreaction and government babysitting...I became of age long ago and odn't need the goverment telling me what is good for me...may the man RIP and may God comfort his family during this time of loss and beyond.
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