Andy Rooney, the “60 Minutes” commentator known to viewing audiences for his wry, humorous and at times, contentious television commentaries passed away on Friday evening, November 4, 2011, in a New York, NY hospital of complications following minor surgery. He was 92.
Rooney was a freelance writer in 1949 when he met Arthur Godfrey, a CBS radio star. Godfrey hired him on the spot and by 1953, Rooney was Godfrey’s only writer. He wrote for CBS’ Garry Moore during the early 1960s. He entered into a partnership Harry Reasoner at CBS News, writing about any and every topic. Rooney left CBS in 1970. He continued on TV for the first time, on PBS where he won a Writers Guild of America award. Three years later, he returned to CBS as a writer and producer of specials. He wrote the 1975 “Mr. Rooney Goes to Washington,” that won him a Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting.
Rooney’s first CBS ’60 Minutes’ appearance was on July 2, 1978 and his special blend of commentary had lasted more than three decades. CBS suspended him for three months in 1990 for making racist comments during an interview, which he denied.
In his more than half century as a television writer, producer and commentator, Rooney won a number of other awards, including four Emmys.
He was born Andrew Aitken Rooney on Jan. 14, 1919, in Albany, N.Y. Andy worked with the Albany Knickerbocker News during high school. He attended College at Colgate University, but his education was interrupted with the advent of World War II, where he worked for ‘Stars and Stripes.’ He was a respected correspondent and reported from nearly every theater of the war. He was a member of the “Writing 69th,” the group of correspondents that accompanied American crews on bombing missions over Europe.
Collaborating with another Stars and Stripes staff member, Bud Hutton, Rooney wrote four books about the war….including the candid 1947 “Their Conqueror’s Peace: A Report to the American Stockholders.”
Rooney was married to his wife, Marguerite, for 62 years until her death in 2004. They had four children and lived in New York, with homes Conn., and upstate New York.