Andy Rooney ’42 Dies at Age 92

Andy Rooney, known nation­wide for his 60 Minutes segment “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” in which he commented on top­ics as diverse as war, popular cul­ture and the frustrations of pre­scription pill bottles, passed away on Friday, November 4 following complications from a recent surgery.

Arguably Colgate’s most famous alumnus, Rooney was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and attend­ed Colgate until 1941 when he was drafted into the Army. He began his career in journalism during World War II, reporting on bombing raids and concentration camps for the GI newspaper Stars and Stripes. After the war, Rooney joined CBS and wrote essays and network specials until he was offered his own segment on 60 Minutes.

On his weekly segment, Rooney took slices of American life and alternatively dissected, criticized, satirized and praised them. His informal format and conversa­tional tone drew comparisons with Will Rogers and Mark Twain, and he became beloved by American viewers for his down-to-earth, no-nonsense style.

“If there’s one thing about Andy Rooney, it’s that he’s an American original – there’s never been anyone one on television like Andy Rooney and there never will be,” CBS News Chairman and Executive Producer of 60 Minutes Jeff Fager ’77 said.

Rooney’s frank assessments oc­casionally ran him into trouble. In a number of productions, Rooney’s observations prompted critical reactions from viewers and orga­nizations. But he always tried to accurately describe the situation as he saw it, and pulled few punches.

“Young people liked him be­cause he challenged authority and I think that was when he was at his best. He was someone who spoke his mind – even on national television…I remember once I introduced him to the Chief Financial Officer at CBS and he wasn’t the least bit afraid to say ‘well, nobody’s perfect.’ That’s what’s refreshing about him,” Fager said about Rooney’s distaste for evasiveness.

Rooney had a strong connec­tion to Colgate, and made many visits to campus over the years. Recently, hundreds of Colgate alumni put together an event in New York City to commemorate Rooney’s legacy in television and media with a “roast” conducted by fellow Colgate alumni with important positions in the media.

“Colgate meant the world to him,” Fager said. “He went to the reunions; he liked to blend in.”

President Herbst released a state­ment lauding Rooney for his achieve­ments and offering his condolences to the Rooney family.

“We extend the Rooney family, a true Colgate family, our deepest sympathies. Andy achieved the goal that we set for all of our students – to lead an accom­plished, fulfilling life,” Herbst said in a statement.

Rooney retired from 60 Min­utes last month after 33 years with the television magazine and nearly 70 years as a television and newspaper contributor.

“Not many people in this world are as lucky as I’ve been….I don’t say this often, but thank you,” Rooney said to his viewers in the sign-off of his final 60 Minutes segment. “Although if you do see me in a restaurant; please, just let me eat my dinner.”

Contact Nate Lynch at [email protected]