A Few Minutes for the Legacy of Andy Rooney

by M-Gillies

Andy Rooney passed away on November 4, 2011 at the age of 92 years.

“I didn’t get old on purpose, it just happened. If you’re lucky, it could happen to you.” – Andy Rooney

Seated behind the infamous walnut table, surrounded by a clutter of papers; with his typewriter in plain view, a computer narrowly stashed in the distance and a bookshelf overflowing with books, many of which he had authored, Andy Rooney quickly became the embodiment of the quintessential curmudgeon. He was the voice of the cranky old man who many could imagine waving a cane at the sight of children playing on his lawn.

Recognized for his furrowed brow and exasperated insight on whimsical, absurd and sometimes illogical topics regarding modern living; his musings on topics from modern art to cultural touchstones became a hallmark of his style. With a voice of frank and down-to-earth commentary, in which he made his points quietly, speaking with an elegant and precise prose, Rooney cemented a career as a long-running commentator on CBS’s weekly news program by being himself and speaking his mind on the observations of day to day life.

Already in his mid 50′s when he began his long lasting stint on “60 Minutes” with his secular sermonette “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” in 1978, the end-of-show segment spanned 33 years to Rooney’s final appearance on October 2, 2011. While his time as an essayist, commentator and television personality had elicited strong reactions from both fans and producers, Rooney 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.”

Though his final segment on “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” was one he dreaded, he said, “I wish I could do this forever. I can’t though, but I’m not retiring; writers don’t retire, and I’ll always be a writer. A lot of you have sent me wonderful letters and said good things to me when you meet me in the street, I wasn’t always gracious about it; it’s hard to accept being liked.”

Despite his often controversial viewpoints, whether it be a critique of Kurt Cobain’s suicide, his pacifist stance when it comes to war or his agnostic belief concerning religion, Rooney was described by Walter Cronkite as an “Everyman, articulating all the frustrations with modern life that the rest of us Every-men (and Everywomen) suffer with silence or mumbled oaths.”

Just three weeks after his final appearance on 60 Minutes, the 92 year-old personality passed away after being hospitalized for an undisclosed surgery.

In a final interview with Morley Safer, Rooney expressed his feelings toward old age by saying, “I hate it. I mean, I’m gonna die and that doesn’t appeal to me at all.”

However, in spite of his own mortality, 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.”

Born on January 14, 1919, Rooney saw his career begin when in 1942 he started writing for the “Stars and Stripes” in London during World War II as an American war correspondent. However, Rooney found success when he joined CBS as a writer for Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts.

Forming a life-long friendship with Godfrey, Rooney wrote for Godfrey’s daytime radio and TV show before moving on to The Garry Moore Show and further writing for CBS News. However, it was in the summer of ’78 when Three Minutes or So with Andy Rooney appeared as a summer replacement to the debate segment Point/Counterpoint. After garnering instant popularity, Point/Counterpoint was dropped altogether at the end of the 1978-1979 season.

Rooney survived his wife of 62 years, Marguerite Rooney by seven years and leaves four children.

While his death has seen an outpouring of accolades over his impressive career in journalism, it was Rooney’s legacy with words that captivated the world’s awe. For Rooney, it was quality over substance, and he proved just that in a few minutes with elegantly crafted writings.


Andy Rooney’s final appearance on “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney”

©2019 mysendoff.com, All rights reserved.