Andy Rooney

Andy Rooney

Infobox Writer
name = Andrew Aitken Rooney

imagesize =
caption =
pseudonym = Andy Rooney
birthname = Andrew Aitken Rooney
birthdate = birth date and age|1919|1|14
birthplace = Albany, New York
deathdate =
deathplace =
occupation = writer, humorist, television personality
nationality = American
ethnicity = Irish
citizenship =
education =
alma_mater = Colgate University
period =
genre =
subject =
movement =
notableworks =
spouse = Marguerite Rooney
partner =
children = Brian, Emily, Martha, Ellen
relatives =
influences = Harry Reasoner, Mike Wallace, E. B. White
influenced =
awards =

website =
portaldisp =

Andrew Aitken "Andy" Rooney (born January 14, 1919) is an American radio and television writer. He became most famous as a humorist and commentator with his weekly broadcast "A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney", a part of the CBS news program "60 Minutes" since 1978.


Rooney attended The Albany Academy in Albany, New York, and later attended Colgate University in Hamilton in upstate New York, where he was initiated into the Sigma Chi fraternity, until he was drafted into the Army in August 1941. He began his career in newspapers there, writing for "Stars and Stripes" in the European Theater during World War II. He later published a memoir, "My War" (1997) about his war reporting. In addition to recounting firsthand several notable historical events and people (like the entry into Paris, the concentration camps, etc), Rooney describes how it shaped his experience both as a writer and reporter.

In February 1943, flying with the Eighth Air Force, he was one of six correspondents who flew on the first American bombing raid over Germany. Later, he was one of the first American journalists to visit the German concentration camps as World War II wound down, and one of the first to write about them.

CBS career

Rooney joined CBS in 1949, as a writer for "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts", when Godfrey was at his peak on CBS radio and TV. The program was a hit, reaching number one in 1952, during Rooney's tenure with the program. He also wrote for Godfrey's daytime radio and TV show Arthur Godfrey Time. He later moved on to "The Garry Moore Show", which also became a hit program. During the same period, he also wrote for CBS News public affairs programs such as "The 20th century".

According to CBS News's biography of him, "Rooney wrote his first television essay, a longer-length precursor of the type he does on 60 Minutes, in 1964, 'An Essay on Doors.' From 1962 to 1968, he collaborated with the late CBS News Correspondent Harry Reasoner —Rooney writing and producing, Reasoner narrating — on such notable CBS News specials as 'An Essay on Bridges' (1965), 'An Essay on Hotels' (1966), 'An Essay on Women' (1967), and 'The Strange Case of the English Language' (1968). 'An Essay on War' (1971) won Rooney his third Writers Guild Award. In 1968, he wrote two CBS News specials in the series 'Of Black America', and his script for 'Black History: Lost, Stolen, or Strayed' won him his first Emmy." cite web |title=CBSnews |work=Andy Rooney -- CBS News |url= |accessdate=2008-01-25]

In the mid 1970s, Rooney wrote and appeared in two prime-time specials, "Mr. Rooney Goes to Dinner" and "Mr. Rooney Goes to Washington." (Transcripts of these specials are contained in the book "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney").

"A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney"

Andy's "end-of-show" segment on "60 Minutes," "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney", began in 1978 as a summer replacement for the debate segment Point/Counterpoint featuring Shana Alexander and James Kilpatrick. The segment proved popular enough with viewers that beginning in the fall of 1978, it was seen in alternate weeks with the debate segment. At the end of the 1978-79 season, Point/Counterpoint was dropped altogether. In the segment, Rooney offers satire on a trivial everyday issue, such as the cost of groceries, annoying relatives, or faulty Christmas presents. Rooney's appearances on "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney" often include whimsical lists (e.g., types of milk,cite web |title=CBSnews |work=What Have They Done To Milk?, Andy Rooney Wonders What They Have Done To Dairy - CBS News |url= |accessdate=2007-07-11] bottled water brands,cite web |title=CBSnews |work=Andy Bottles Eau De Rooney, Andy Rooney May Get Into The Bottled Water Business. - CBS News |url= |accessdate=2007-07-11] car brands,cite web |title=CBSnews |work=Andy's Trip To The Auto Show, Andy Rooney Checks Out The New Rides At The Auto Show - CBS News |url= |accessdate=2007-07-11] sports mascots,cite web |title=CBSnews |work=What's In A Team Name?, Andy Rooney Takes A Closer Look At The Names Of Sports Teams - CBS News |url= |accessdate=2007-07-11] etc.).

In recent years his segments have become more political, as well. For example, Rooney has become quite critical of George W. Bush and the 2003 Iraq War. Despite being known best for these segments, Rooney has always considered himself a writer who appears on television.

His shorter television essays have been archived in numerous books, such as "Common Nonsense", which came out in 2002, and "Years of Minutes", released in 2003. He also has a regular syndicated newspaper column that runs in many newspapers in the United States. He has won three Emmy Awards for his essays, which now number close to 1,000. He was also awarded a Lifetime Achievement Emmy.

Rooney's often irritable and formulaic delivery of observations is frequently parodied.

Family life

He has four children, including a daughter, Emily Rooney, who is a TV talk show host and former ABC News producer; she currently hosts a nightly Boston-area public affairs program, "Greater Boston", on WGBH. His son, Brian Rooney, has been a correspondent for ABC since the 1980s. Another daughter, Ellen, is a photographer based in London. Emily's identical twin, Martha, is Chief of the Public Services Division at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland. His wife of 62 years, Marguerite, died in 2004. He currently lives in the Rowayton section of Norwalk, Connecticut and in Rensselaerville, NY.

Rooney is a longtime season ticket holder for the New York Giants of the National Football League.


He has claimed on "Larry King Live" to have a liberal bias, stating, "There is just no question that I, among others, have a liberal bias. I mean, I'm consistently liberal in my opinions." [] Rooney is an atheist. [ [ HNN Podcast: Andy Rooney on Atheism] ] Over the years many of his editorials have poked fun at the concept of God and organized religion. Increased speculation on this was brought to a head by a series of comments he made regarding Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ" (2004). In public comments he has described himself as an agnostic. [] Though Rooney is considered by some to be 'Irish-American', he once said "I'm proud of my Irish heritage, but I'm not Irish. I'm not even Irish-American. I am American, period."

Andy Rooney was briefly interviewed on HBO's "Da Ali G Show", where he became one of the only guests to be so annoyed by Ali G that he furiously ended the interview several minutes into it. Before ending the interview, he repeatedly corrected Ali G when he used "does" as the conjugation of the verb "to do" in the second-person singular when addressing Rooney. When Ali G said, "I think that's an English, American thing going on," Rooney replied, "No, no. That's English. The English language is very clear. I have over fifty books on the English language if you'd like to borrow one." In Rooney's frustration near the beginning of the interview, he misspelled his own last name as "Runey" when Ali G asked him how it was spelled.

Racial remarks

In 2003, a fake [] e-mail purporting to be a "60 Minutes" transcript began circulating on the Internet. The e-mail assigns numerous political opinions to Rooney. Rooney has been quoted as saying: "There's a collection of racist and sexist remarks on the Internet under a picture of me with the caption ‘ANDY ROONEY SAID ON 60 MINUTES.’ If I could find the person who did write it using my name I would sue him." []

Rooney has occasionally been accused by critics of insensitive use of ethnic and racial labels. In a 2002 commentary, Rooney addressed the use of the term "Negro" this way:

"Our thoughts about words change over the years. In 1968, I wrote a television show called 'Black History, Lost, Stolen or Strayed' for Bill Cosby. I remember being uneasy with the word 'black' because the acceptable word back then was 'Negro.' Today, I wouldn't use 'Negro.' It's a good, strong word, but now it sounds wrong to me.

"Different ethnic groups of Americans have always had terrible nicknames for each other. I remember hearing them as a kid. You don't hear them much anymore because they always make the person using them sound like such ignorant jerks.

"Italians were wops. Germans were krauts. Kikes ... Spics. Irish Catholics were "harps" or "micks." Wetbacks. Koreans or Vietnamese were "gooks." Chinks ... Slant eyes. ... Towel-heads." [ [ What's In A Word?, Andy Rooney Looks At The Names People Use - CBS News ] ]

He also wrote a column in 1992 that it was "silly" for Native-Americans to complain about team names like the Redskins saying, "The real problem is, we took the country away from the Indians, they want it back and we're not going to give it to them. We feel guilty and we'll do what we can for them within reason, but they can't have their country back. Next question." [ [ Blue Corn Comics - Andy Rooney's Commentary on Indians ] ]

In a recent column for Tribune media services, he wrote, "I know all about Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, but today's baseball stars are all guys named Rodriguez to me." [ [ stamford times - COLUMN — Andy Rooney — A no-hit game for me ] ] Rooney later commented, "Yeah, I probably shouldn't have said it, [but] it's a name that seems common in baseball now. I certainly didn't think of it in any derogatory sense." [ [ BBTF's Newsblog Discussion :: N.Y. Times: Andy Rooney Regrets a Racist Comment in a Recent Column (RR) ] ]

Remarks on Kurt Cobain's suicide

In a 1994 segment, Rooney commented on Kurt Cobain's suicide in a way that many deemed mean-spirited. Stating that he had never heard of Kurt Cobain or the band Nirvana, he went on to say that Cobain's suicide made him angry. "A lot of people would like to have the years left that he threw away," Mr. Rooney said. "What's all this nonsense about how terrible life is?" he asked, and he added, speaking rhetorically to a young woman who had wept at the suicide, "I'd love to relieve the pain you're going through by switching my age for yours." "What would all these young people be doing if they had real problems like a Depression, World War II or Vietnam?" " [If he] applied the same brain to his music that he applied to his drug-infested life, it's reasonable to think that his music may not have made much sense either." Later, Rooney admitted that he might have been "unfair"."Years of Minutes" (2003), p. 266–268.]

uspension by CBS

In 1990 Rooney was suspended without pay for three months. This punishment was for saying that "too much alcohol, too much food, drugs, homosexual unions, cigarettes [are] all known to lead... to premature death." Also, he wrote an explanatory letter to a gay organization after being ordered not to do so. This may have contributed to the severity of the action. After only four weeks without Andy Rooney "60 Minutes" lost 20 percent of its audience. CBS management then decided that it was in the best interest of the network to have Rooney return immediately. [N.Y. Times (3/2/90): CBS News President Ends Rooney's Suspension]


* "Out of My Mind", 2006 (ISBN 1-58648-416-8)
* "Years of Minutes", 2003 (ISBN 1-58648-211-4)
* "Common Nonsense", 2002, (ISBN 1-58648-144-4)
* "Sincerely, Andy Rooney", 1999 (ISBN 1-891620-34-7)
* "My War", 1997 (ISBN 0-517-17986-5)
* "Sweet and Sour", 1992 (ISBN 0-399-13774-2)
* "Most of Andy Rooney", 1990 (ISBN 0-88365-765-1)
* "Not That You Asked...", 1989 (ISBN 0-394-57837-6)
* "Word for Word", 1988 (ISBN 0-399-13200-7)
* "The Most of Andy Rooney", 1986 (ISBN 0-689-11864-3)
* "Pieces of My Mind", 1986 (ISBN 0-689-11492-3)
* "And More by Andy Rooney", 1985 (ISBN 0-517-40622-5)
* "The Complete Andy Rooney", 1983 (ISBN 0-446-11219-4)
* "A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney", 1981 (ISBN 0-689-11194-0)

ee also


External links

* [ CBS Biography]
* [ Archive] of previous "A Few Minutes..." segments
* [ Andy Rooney Podcast] among other CBS podcasts
* [ on Rooney E-Mail]'s article on false e-mail claims

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