RIP: Andy Rooney, Cornerstone of ’60 Minutes’, Dies at 92

According to the New York Times, CBS News commentator and America’s most well-loved curmudgeon Andy Rooney died last night “after complications following minor surgery.” He was 92 years old. Until this past October, Rooney had appeared on CBS’s 60 Minutes every week from 1978 to 2011, usually ending the program with light and often hilarious commentary on a wide variety of topics, from politics to pop culture to the trials and tribulations of daily life. The archetypal grumpy-but-lovable old man figure, Rooney loved shined shoes, properly pressed pants, and Dwight D. Eisenhower, but was much more famous for his many dislikes, some of which caused complaint and controversy during his many years at CBS. In particular, he took criticism for homophobic comments, and was suspended by CBS for three months, but was reinstated after only four weeks when viewership for an Andy Rooney-less 60 Minutes dropped 20 percent. When he returned, he apologized, saying, “There was never a writer who didn’t hope that in some small way he was doing good with the words he put down on paper and, while I know it’s presumptuous, I’ve always had in my mind that I was doing some little bit of good. Now, I was to be known for having done, not good, but bad. I’d be known for the rest of my life as a racist bigot and as someone who had made life a little more difficult for homosexuals. I felt terrible about that and I’ve learned a lot.”

Insensitive comments or no, Rooney was one of the most popular broadcast figures in the country, an everyman who captured the nation’s heart with his grumbling, backyard philosophy and dislike of things like “two-prong plugs in a three-prong society.” During his last scheduled appearance on CBS, Rooney said, “I’ve done a lot of complaining here, but of all the things I’ve complained about, I can’t complain about my life.”