His death comes a month after he signed off 60 Minutes for the final time with his 1,097th essay, telling viewers, "I'm not retiring. Writers don't retire and I'll always be a writer.""Words cannot adequately express Andy's contribution to the world of journalism and the impact he made — as a colleague and a friend — upon everybody at CBS," CBS CEO Les Moonves said in a statement.A New York native, Rooney started his journalism career while in the U.S. Army in 1942. He joined CBS in 1949 as a writer for Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts and in 1962 started collaborating with CBS News correspondent Harry Reasoner on television essays that first aired as specials on the network. Among the subjects: doors, war, women, hotels and bridges.
Rooney made a few appearances on 60 Minutes after its 1968 premiere, but it wasn't until 1978 that CBS debuted "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney" in the final slot on 60 Minutes. The typically two-minute segment featured a curmudgeonly Rooney offering his take on simple oddities and mundane topics in life, from bad Christmas presents to his complaint that there are too many kinds of fruit in the world.Voicing his opinions didn't come without consequences. In 1990, CBS temporarily suspended Rooney after he said too many "homosexual unions," among other things, lead to premature death. The suspension was originally three months, but only lasted one month after 60 Minutes' ratings declined sans Rooney.Rooney won four Emmys during his career, including one for his essay that revealed there was no Mrs. Smith behind Mrs. Smith Pies.
In his final essay, Rooney expressed gratitude for his lucky life and said he wishes he could do his essays forever. But he remained characteristically cranky until the end. His parting words: "If you do see me in a restaurant, please, just let me eat my dinner."Rooney is survived by his four children, twins Emily and Martha, Ellen and Brian. His wife of 62 years, Marguerite, died in 2004 of heart failure.Watch his final essay: