Born on this date in 1919, American radio and television writer Rooney was best known for his weekly broadcast "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney," a part of the CBS News program 60 Minutes. Called everything from a brilliant analyst to a grouchy curmudgeon, Rooney was first and foremost a dedicated, truth-telling reporter who started his career with Stars and Stripes during World War II.
His willingness to “go to the front lines” when others held back resulted in his being first on the scene when the U.S. 9th Army captured the bridge that led to U.S. forces crossing the Rhine and hastening the war’s end. His story made front page headlines around the world. Later, he was one of the first American journalists to visit the Nazi concentration camps, and one of the first to write about them.
Rooney left print and began his broadcast career with CBS in 1949. He went from straight news to commentary in 1957, something he honed to perfection from 1978-2011 on the 60 Minutes. In the segment, Rooney typically offered satire on trivial everyday issues, such as the cost of groceries, annoying relatives, or faulty Christmas presents. He did his final segment on Oct. 2, 2011
He wrote 16 books, most compilations of his 60 Minutes’ essays. One of the best is the last, written in 2009, 60 Years of Wisdom and Wit. About his essays, he noted, “I obviously have a knack for getting on paper what a lot of people have thought and didn't realize they thought. And they say, 'Hey, yeah!' And they like that.”
Rooney always credited his writing teachers and mentors for his successes and was a champion for educators. “Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us,” he said. “Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives.” In a way, with his writing and commentary, he too was a teacher.
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