'60 Minutes' commentator Andy Rooney dead at 92

(AP) - Andy Rooney so dreaded the day he had to end hissignature "60 Minutes" commentaries about life's large and smallabsurdities that he kept going until he was 92 years old. Even then, he said he wasn't retiring. Writers never retire. Buthis life after the end of "A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney" wasshort: He died Friday night, according to CBS, only a month afterdelivering his 1,097th and final televised commentary. Rooney had gone to the hospital for an undisclosed surgery, butmajor complications developed and he never recovered. Rooney talked on "60 Minutes" about what was in the news, andhis opinions occasionally got him in trouble. But he was just aslikely to discuss the old clothes in his closet, why air travel hadbecome unpleasant and why banks needed to have important soundingnames. He won one of his four Emmy Awards for a piece on whether therewas a real Mrs. Smith who made Mrs. Smith's Pies. As it turned out,there was no Mrs. Smith. "I obviously have a knack for getting on paper what a lot ofpeople have thought and didn't realize they thought," Rooney oncesaid. "And they say, `Hey, yeah!' And they like that." Looking for something new to punctuate its weekly broadcast,"60 Minutes" aired its first Rooney commentary on July 2, 1978.He complained about people who keep track of how many people die incar accidents on holiday weekends. In fact, he said, the Fourth ofJuly is "one of the safest weekends of the year to be goingsomeplace." More than three decades later, he was railing about howunpleasant air travel had become. "Let's make a statement to theairlines just to get their attention," he said. "We'll pick aweek next year and we'll all agree not to go anywhere for sevendays." "Words cannot adequately express Andy's contribution to theworld of journalism and the impact he made - as a colleague and afriend - upon everybody at CBS," said Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp.president and CEO. Jeff Fager, CBS News chairman and "60 Minutes" executiveproducer, said "it's hard to imagine not having Andy around. Heloved his life and he lived it on his own terms. We will miss himvery much." For his final essay, Rooney said that he'd live a life luckierthan most. "I wish I could do this forever. I can't, though," he said. He said he probably hadn't said anything on "60 Minutes" thatmost of his viewers didn't already know or hadn't thought. "That'swhat a writer does," he said. "A writer's job is to tell thetruth." True to his occasional crotchety nature, though, he complainedabout being famous or bothered by fans. His last wish from fans: Ifyou see him in a restaurant, just let him eat his dinner.

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