Andy Rooney, the curmudgeonly essayist of CBS' 60 Minutes, died Friday at 92, just weeks after his final regular broadcast.
The cause was complications following minor surgery, according to CBS.
Rooney's 60 Minutes character was a grumpy voice of earned wisdom, and a font of pet peeves. He "was better known for the things he didn’t like," The New York Times writes. Gawker, just as sympathetically, put it this way: "It's hard to think of a television correspondent more American than Rooney: interminably cranky, perpetually confused, stubbornly opinionated, slightly bigoted, usually wrong, and strangely likable." (That "slightly bigoted" remark refers to a string of homophobic and racially charged remarks, for which he was roundly criticized and suspended from work for a month.)
Rooney started as a writer and he remained one, grouchy and loyal to a few core beliefs. From The Times:
He admitted to loving football, Christmas, tennis, woodworking and Dwight D. Eisenhower, one of the few politicians who won his approval because, as an Army general during World War II, he had refused to censor Stars and Stripes, the G.I. newspaper for which Mr. Rooney worked. He also claimed to like shined shoes and properly pressed pants and had machines in his office to take care of those functions, although somehow he always managed to look rumpled.
But he was better known for the things he didn’t like. He railed against “two-prong plugs in a three-prong society,” the incomprehensibility of road maps, wash-and-wear shirts “that you can wash but not wear,” the uselessness of keys and locks, and outsize cereal boxes that contained very little cereal.
“I don’t like any music I can’t hum,” he grumbled.
He observed that “there are more beauty parlors than there are beauties” and that “if dogs could talk, it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one.”
His final appearance on the air, however, included these words: “I’ve done a lot of complaining here, but of all the things I’ve complained about, I can’t complain about my life.”
Update: Back in September, after Rooney announced his retirement, TIME put together this great retrospective of vintage Rooney crankiness. "What's a Lady Gaga?"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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