Andy Rooney passed away late on Friday after complications from surgery. He was 92.
Rooney’s passing comes scarcely a month after his last appearance on 60 Minutes.
Before becoming a household name, Rooney had a long career in journalism which began as a war correspondent on the European front in WWII. Rooney was awarded with a Bronze Star for his reportage of the Battle of Saint-Lo in 1944.
Rooney joined CBS in 1949 as a writer for Arthur Godfrey on his radio show and then his television show. He also wrote for Garry Moore’s variety show. In the early 1960s, Rooney began a long standing collaboration with his future 60 Minutes colleague Harry Reasoner on a series of essays ranging from doors to bridges to women. Rooney wrote and produced these shows while Reasoner narrated them.
But Rooney would achieve his greatest success when in 1978, nearing sixty, he began his end of show segments on 60 Minutes replacing the Point-Counterpoint segments which had been a mainstay for nearly a decade. Rooney was so popular that when he was given a three month suspension in 1990 for anti-gay and racist remarks, the latter of which he denied making the program lost a fifth of its audience. Rooney’s suspension ended three weeks later. Upon his return, Rooney said, “Do I have any opinions that might irritate some people? Your damn right I do. That’s what I’m here for.”
More often than not, Rooney expressed opinions during the Bush years which I found irritating especially where it concerned the War in Iraq. But sometimes we need to hear what we don’t want to hear. Well, if I had to hear something I didn’t want to hear I would want to hear it from Andy Rooney. Alas, Sunday will never be the same.
60 Minutes will air a tribute to Rooney on Sunday night.
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