Andy Rooney, '60 Minutes' Commentator, Dies A distinctive voice — and character — in television news has died. Andy Rooney, who was 92, was a signature essayist for CBS News for decades. Rooney was one of the most famous curmudgeons in American public life.
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Andy Rooney, '60 Minutes' Commentator, Dies

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Andy Rooney, '60 Minutes' Commentator, Dies

Andy Rooney, '60 Minutes' Commentator, Dies

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/141728921/142053585" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

One of the most distinctive voices in television news has died. Andy Rooney was a signature essayist for CBS News. He died last night in New York at the age of 92. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik has this remembrance.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: Rooney was one of the most famous curmudgeons in American public life. And not just on TV. He typically refused to sign autographs or to respond to letters from fans. His now famous gig with CBS's "60 Minutes" started on July 2nd, 1978. It was initially called "Three Minutes or So With Andy Rooney." And in it, he questioned warnings over the perils of driving during the Independence Day holiday.

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FOLKENFLIK: As ever, Rooney, was the contrarian.

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FOLKENFLIK: The segment soon became a distinctive and weekly bookend to the show's exposes and profiles. It was also a new and defining chapter in Rooney's career.

Andy Rooney was born and raised in Albany, New York in 1919. He left Colgate University during World War II to become a reporter for the Army publication "Stars and Stripes." Rooney told his friend and "60 Minutes" colleague Morley Safer that he had initially been a reluctant warrior.

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FOLKENFLIK: Rooney flew with Army Air Force bombers during raids over Germany in 1943 and he landed at Normandy just after D-Day. He gained recognition for his crisp writing and bravery under fire. He joined CBS several years after World War II, first as a writer for top entertainment shows, later for news. Rooney contributed his own essays and reported pieces, some of them quite serious about war and fraud and other hard news stories. But in his trademark essays, he painted in miniature. Here he was on the estimated 1.5 billion people who buy things online.

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FOLKENFLIK: On airport security after the September 2001 attacks.

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FOLKENFLIK: On being a sucker for kitchen tools.

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FOLKENFLIK: At times, he offended viewers, and was briefly suspended for remarks about gays and blacks. But even Rooney's less controversial remarks inspired material for countless comedians.

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FOLKENFLIK: That's Frank Caliendo, here with an impression on Rooney figuring out the iPhone.

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FOLKENFLIK: In early October, the real Rooney offered his valedictory essay.

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FOLKENFLIK: Ever the grouch, he asked viewers to leave him alone in retirement. But he smiled. As Rooney told viewers on that last appearance, he had led a lucky life. David Folkenflik, NPR News, New York.

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