Andy Rooney

On this date in 1919, commentator Andy Rooney was born. Rooney attended Colgate University until drafted into the Army in 1941. He was one of six correspondents who flew with the Eighth Air Force making the first U.S. bombing raid over Germany. He first joined CBS in 1949, and helped write for the popular "Garry Moore Show" (1956-1965), while also writing for CBS News public affairs. He collaborated with the late CBS News correspondent Harry Reasoner on a series of CBS TV news specials from 1962-1968. Rooney won the first of his three Emmy Awards for his special, "Black History: Lost, Stolen or Strayed" (1968). Since 1979, he has written a regular column for Tribune Media Services. "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney" debuted on the TV news program "60 Minutes" in September 1978. Since then, Rooney delivered 800 on-air essays for "60 Minutes." The latest of his 13 books was Years of Minutes. In his 1999 book Sincerely, Andy Rooney, he included a final section called "Faith in Reason," in which he reprinted a letter to his children about his agnosticism and freethought views. In 2001, Rooney was a recipient of FFRF's Emperor Has No Clothes Award in 2001. He referred to himself as "a writer who appears on television," and was also awarded a Lifetime Achievement Emmy and the Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award. Rooney appeared regularly on "60 Minutes" until Oct. 2, 2011, less than five weeks before his death on Nov. 4. D. 2011.

Photo by Stephenson Brown under CC 2.0. This photo has been cropped from the original version.

“We all ought to understand we're on our own. Believing in Santa Claus doesn't do kids any harm for a few years but it isn't smart for them to continue waiting all their lives for him to come down the chimney with something wonderful. Santa Claus and God are cousins.

Christians talk as though goodness was their idea but good behavior doesn't have any religious origin. Our prisons are filled with the devout.

I'd be more willing to accept religion, even if I didn't believe it, if I thought it made people nicer to each other but I don't think it does.”

—Andy Rooney, Sincerely, Andy Rooney, 1999.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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