Saturday, November 05, 2011

Andy Rooney

Death is a distant rumor to the young.
Andy Rooney

Andy Rooney died last night of post-surgical complications. As of now the medical reason for the surgery has not been disclosed, and the Rooney family asks that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.  Mr. Rooney was most notable for his weekly broadcast, a part of the CBS News program 60 Minutes from 1978 to 2011. I remember as a CHILD OF TELEVISION I was not always interested in the first fifty five minutes of the broadcast but ran to the TV when I heard, "And now A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney".

Happiness depends more on how life strikes you than on what happens.
Andy Rooney

Andrew Rooney was born in Albany, New York, the son of Walter Scott Rooney (1888–1959) and Ellinor (née Reynolds) Rooney (1886–1980). He attended The Albany Academy, 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 U.S. Army in August 1941. Rooney began his career in newspapers while in the Army when, in 1942, he began writing for Stars and Stripes in London during World War II.
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 Nazi concentration camps near the end of World War II, and one of the first to write about them. During a segment on Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation, Rooney confessed that he had been opposed to World War II because he was a pacifist. He recounted that what he saw in those concentration camps made him ashamed that he had opposed the war and permanently changed his opinions about whether "just wars" exist.
Rooney's 1995 memoir, My War, chronicles his war reporting. In addition to recounting firsthand several notable historical events and people (including the entry into Paris and the Nazi concentration camps), Rooney describes how it shaped his experience both as a writer and reporter.
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. It opened the show up to a variety of viewers. The program was a hit, reaching number one in 1952, during Rooney's tenure with the program. It was the beginning of a close life-long friendship between Rooney and Godfrey. He wrote for Godfrey's daytime radio and TV show Arthur Godfrey Time. He later moved on to The Garry Moore Show, which became a hit program. During the same period, he wrote for CBS News public affairs programs such as The Twentieth 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 another close friend, 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.

On a personal note:
My high school history teacher had us was watch An Essay on War and we were all very moved.

In 1968, he wrote two CBS News specials in the series 'Of Black America', and his script for 'BlackHistory: Lost, Stolen, or Strayed' won him his first Emmy." Rooney also wrote the script for the 1975 documentary FDR: The Man Who Changed America.
In the 1970s, Rooney wrote and appeared in several prime-time specials for CBS, including In Praise of New York City (1974), the Peabody Award-winning Mr. Rooney Goes to Washington (1975), Mr. Rooney Goes to Dinner (1978), and Mr. Rooney Goes to Work (1977). Transcripts of these specials, as well as of some of the earlier collaborations with Reasoner, are contained in the book A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney. Another special, Andy Rooney Takes Off, followed in 1984.

I don't pick subjects as much as they pick me.
Andy Rooney

Rooney's "end-of-show" segment on 60 Minutes, "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney" (originally "Three Minutes or So 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 typically offered 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 included whimsical lists (e.g., types of milk, bottled water brands, car brands, sports mascots, etc.). In later years, his segments became more political as well. Despite being best known for his television presence on 60 Minutes, Rooney always considered himself a writer who incidentally appeared on television behind his famous walnut table, which he made himself.

Nothing in fine print is ever good news.
Andy Rooney

Rooney's 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 penned a regular syndicated column for Tribune Media Services that ran in many newspapers in the United States, and which has been collected in book form. He won three Emmy Awards for his essays, which numbered over 1,000. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 2003. Rooney's renown made him a frequent target of parodies and impersonations by a diverse group of comedic figures, including Frank Caliendo, Rich Little and Beavis.
In 1993, CBS released a two-volume VHS tape set of the best of Rooney's commentaries and field reports, called "The Andy Rooney Television Collection - His Best Minutes." In 2006, CBS released three DVDs of his more recent commentaries, "Andy Rooney On Almost Everything," "Things That Bother Andy Rooney," and "Andy Rooney's Solutions."

Rooney's final regular appearance on 60 Minutes was on October 2, 2011, after 33 years on the show. It was his 1,097th commentary.

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

Books written by Rooney:
  • A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney, 1981
  • The Complete Andy Rooney, 1983
  • And More by Andy Rooney, 1985
  • Pieces of My Mind, 1986
  • The Most of Andy Rooney, 1986
  • Word for Word, 1988
  • Not That You Asked..., 1989
  • Most of Andy Rooney, 1990
  • Sweet and Sour, 1992
  • My War, 1997
  • Sincerely, Andy Rooney, 1999
  • Common Nonsense, 2002,
  • Years of Minutes, 2003
  • Out of My Mind, 2006
  • 60 Years of Wisdom and Wit, 2009
The closing of a door can bring blessed privacy and comfort - the opening, terror. Conversely, the closing of a door can be a sad and final thing - the opening a wonderfully joyous moment.
Andy Rooney 

Good Night Mr. Rooney

Stay Tuned 

Tony Figueroa
"And now A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney".Andy's First Commentary Andy on Obama's Election Rooney on Coffee Cans The Worst of Andy Rooney Andy's Eyebrows Food for Thought Memorial Day Memories Andy on Pill Bottles Mixed Nuts Andys Favorite Place The Fine Print Andy's Last Commentary

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