Andy Rooney quits 60 Minutes aged 92 but insists: 'I'm not retiring'

  • Broadcaster has delivered weekly essays on CBS for 33 years

Veteran broadcaster and America's leading grumpy old man Andy Rooney delivered his final weekly essay on Sunday after 33 years of appearances on the CBS show 60 Minutes.

He began his weekly show 'A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney' in 1978 at the age of 59 after years working behind the scenes as a writer for TV and radio.

In his 1097th and final essay he described himself not as a 'television personality,' but as 'a writer who reads what he's written.'

Scroll down for video

Signing off: Veteran broadcaster Andy Rooney delivers his final essay for CBS's 60 Minutes at the age of 92

Signing off: Veteran broadcaster Andy Rooney delivers his final essay for CBS's 60 Minutes at the age of 92

He said: 'This is a moment I have dreaded.

'I wish I could do this forever. But I can't. But I'm not retiring. Writers don't retire, and I'll always be a writer.

'A writer's job is to tell the truth. I know I've been terribly wrong sometimes, but I think I've been right more than I've been wrong.'


  • Women over 50 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if they think you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you - if they think they can get away with it
  • I don't know anything off-hand that mystifies Americans more than the cotton they put in pill bottles
  • Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don't need to be done.
  • The average dog is a nicer person than the average person
  • If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it
  • Anyone who likes golf on television would enjoy watching the grass grow on the greens
  • Happiness depends more on how life strikes you than on what happens.
  • The only people who say worse things about politicians than reporters do are other politicians
  • 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
  • There are a lot of know-nothing boobs who don’t appreciate the modern art being put up in public places in all our cities... I know this is true, because I’m one of those know-nothing boobs.

Rooney said he has lived a lucky life, luckier than most. But befitting his trademark crotchety nature, he voiced one parting complaint: He doesn't like being famous, nor does he like being bothered by fans.

'I spent my first 50 years trying to become well known as a writer, and the next 30 trying to avoid being famous,' he said. 'I walk down the street now or go to a football game and people shout, "Hey, Andy!" And I hate that.'

So if you see him in a restaurant, Rooney said as he signed off, 'please, just let me eat my dinner.'

CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager paid tribute to his long career saying: 'There's nobody like Andy, and there never will be. He'll hate hearing this, but he's an American original.'

Rooney had been a contributor to 60 Minutes since the show's debut. During its first season in 1968 he appeared a few times in silhouette with Palmer Williams, 60 Minutes senior producer, in a short-lived segment called Ipso and Facto.

He joined CBS in 1949 as a writer for Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, a hit show of that day and also wrote for The Garry Moore Show (1959-65), a popular variety show.

Impressive: Rooney's career as a writer for CBS began in 1949

Impressive: Rooney's career as a writer for CBS began in 1949

At the same time, he was writing for CBS News public-affairs broadcasts such as The Twentieth Century and Calendar.

His skills as a writer and producer, not as the talking head he famously became later in life, were the roles he said he always valued most.

'I obviously have a knack for getting on paper what a lot of people have thought and didn't realize they thought,' he reflected during an interview in 1998. 'And they say, "Hey, yeah!" And they like that.'

Before Rooney delivered his final essay, Morley Safer - himself an 89-year-old journalist and a 60 Minutes staple since 1970 - interviewed Rooney about his personal and professional life.

Rooney admitted that he doesn't sign autographs and rarely responds to fan mail, telling Safer he didn't 'want to answer an idiot who would have the bad sense to write me a letter.'

Rooney has also engendered controversy, such as his weeks-long suspension in 1990 for remarks that offended some gay viewers.

Long time coming: Rooney delivered his first essay on 60 Minutes in 1978 at the age of 59

Long time coming: Rooney delivered his first essay on 60 Minutes in 1978 at the age of 59

But he's better known for his sharp commentaries and public persona as someone fed up with everything from desk clutter to chocolate chip cookies to door knobs.

In his time at 60 Minutes, Rooney has also contributed many deeper pieces in the wake of events like the 1986 space shuttle Challenger explosion, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the shock and awe campaign to start the 2003 Iraq war -- a phrase he scathingly said 'makes us look like foolish braggarts'.

Safer described his longtime colleague as 'America's favorite grouch-in-chief', saying Rooney used his 'loud whiny voice ... speaking up for citizens fed up with everything'.

'There have been many curmudgeons on television over its long history,' Safer said affectionately. 'None has been so long serving in that role as Mr. Rooney.'

The comments below have not been moderated.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now