Andy Rooney retires: Will there ever be another one like him?


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Andy Rooney -- known for being so darn grumpy and cantankerous -- is stepping down from his weekly broadcast with CBS’ ‘60 Minutes,’ leaving a hole in the media landscape that will be nearly impossible to fill.

Rooney, 92, has earned his retirement. The snowy-haired, doughy-faced curmudgeon helmed the final segment each week on ’60 Minutes,’ which continues to be a ratings powerhouse, in part because of Rooney. Each Sunday night, the hard-hitting TV magazine program wraps up the broadcast with one its most popular segments: ‘A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney.’


For 33 years, Rooney picked at, pored over and poked fun at life’s everyday oddities, pop culture phenomenons and hard news:

He complained that Christmas has been ruined by catalogs offering outrageously priced items.

He groused about the changing face of watches. ‘A watch ought to be round ... how can they make a square watch?’ he asked.

He admitted that he had completely lost touch with today’s music scene.

‘I don’t know who Lady Gaga is and kids today probably don’t know who Ella Fitzgerald was. Maybe we should call it even,’ he fumed in one segment.

That mouth sometimes got him into trouble.

Rooney took heat for calling Native Americans ‘silly’ for complaining about mascots and team names such as the Redskins, and remarking that it seemed as if most baseball players were named Rodriguez.

After Kurt Cobain’s suicide, he expressed little sympathy. ‘A lot of people would like to have the years left that he threw away,’ Rooney said. ‘What’s all this nonsense about how terrible life is?’ The following week, he apologized and said he should have considered Cobain’s depression.

Rooney was thrust into the harsh media spotlight in 1990 after saying that ‘too much alcohol, too much food, drugs, homosexual unions, cigarettes’ can cause an early death. He was also quoted in a magazine as saying that blacks suffered from ‘watered-down genes’ -- a comment he said he never made. Those comments were followed by a three-month suspension, but viewers howled in protest and the show’s ratings plummeted. Rooney was quickly brought back on air.

For his part, Rooney has acknowledged that some of his comments were ill-conceived or misunderstood, and said he never intended to insult anyone or hurt their feelings.

DVR alert: His final regular appearance is scheduled for Oct. 2.


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--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

File photo: Andy Rooney shown in this September 2009 file photo attending a memorial service for CBS newsman Walter Cronkite. (Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images)