Serious complications develop after minor surgery, CBS says
His condition is stable, according to network
Curmudgeonly newsman made his last appearance on "60 Minutes" on October 2
Longtime CBS News commentator Andy Rooney has been hospitalized in stable condition after suffering “serious complications” following minor surgery last week, the network said Tuesday.
Rooney got his start in journalism during World War II, when he wrote for the “Stars and Stripes,” and joined CBS in 1949 as a writer for Arthur Godfrey’s radio and television entertainment show. Rooney went on to collaborate between 1962 and 1968 on a series of essays with his friend the late newsman Harry Reasoner.
With Reasoner narrating, Rooney wrote and produced “An Essay on Bridges” (1965), “An Essay on Hotels” (1966), “An Essay on Women” (1967), “An Essay on Chairs” (1968) and “The Strange Case of the English Language” (1968). He wrote two CBS News specials in the series “Of Black America.” In 1968, his script for “Black History: Lost, Stolen or Strayed” won him the first of four Emmy awards.
“An Essay on War” in 1971 won him his third Writers Guild Award.
He joined “60 Minutes” in 1978, according to CBS, thus beginning decades of show-ending essays on topics as varied as looking for a job (“We need people who can actually do things. We have too many bosses and too few workers. More college graduates ought to become plumbers or electricians, then go home at night and read Shakespeare.”); his bushy eyebrows (“I try to look nice. I comb my hair, I tie my tie, I put on a jacket, but I draw the line when it comes to trimming my eyebrows. You work with what you got.”); the “shock and awe” campaign that started the Iraq war in 2003 (the phrase “makes us look like foolish braggarts.”)
“This is a moment I’ve dreaded,” he said during his 1,097th and last appearance. “I wish I could do this forever. I can’t, though. But I’m not retiring. Writers don’t retire, and I’ll always be a writer.”
“There’s nobody like Andy, and there never will be. He’ll hate hearing this, but he’s an American original,” CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager said early this month in a release announcing Rooney’s last appearance, when he described himself not as a “television personality,” but rather as “a writer who reads what he’s written.”
“A writer’s job is to tell the truth,” Rooney said. “I know I’ve been terribly wrong sometimes, but I think I’ve been right more than I’ve been wrong.”
Rooney has won the Writers Guild Award for Best Script of the Year six times.
He won Emmy Awards for his essays in 1979, 1981 and 1982.
Rooney also wrote, produced and narrated a series of broadcasts for CBS News on aspects of American life, including “Mr. Rooney Goes to Washington,” for which he won a Peabody Award, “Andy Rooney Takes Off,” “Mr. Rooney Goes to Work” and “Mr. Rooney Goes to Dinner.”
He wrote more than a dozen books, including “Air Gunner,” “The Story of the Stars and Stripes,” “Conquerors’ Pace,” “The Fortunes of War,” “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney,” “And More by Andy Rooney,” “Pieces of My Mind,” “Word for Word,” “Not That You Asked…,”;= “Sweet and Sour,” “My War” and “Sincerely, Andy Rooney.”
Rooney was born on Jan. 14, 1919, in Albany, New York, and attended Colgate University until he was drafted into the Army in 1941. In February 1943, he was one of six correspondents who flew with the 8th Air Force on the first American bombing raid over Germany. Last year, Rooney received the Overseas Press Club of America’s President’s Award. He lives in New York. He has three daughters and a son.