Andy Rooney

On this date in 1919, commentator Andrew Aitken “Andy” Rooney was born, in Albany, N.Y. He 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 raids over Germany. He joined CBS in 1949 and helped write for the popular “Garry Moore Show” (1956-65), while also writing for CBS News public affairs. He collaborated with Harry Reasoner on a series of news specials from 1962-68.

Rooney won the first of his three Emmy Awards for his special “Black History: Lost, Stolen or Strayed” (1968). Starting in 1979, he wrote a regular column for Tribune Media Services. “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” debuted on the TV news program “60 Minutes” in July 1978 with an essay about misleading reporting of auto fatalities on the Independence Day weekend. 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.

He 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 five weeks before his death at age 92 in New York City. (D. 2011)

Freedom From Religion Foundation