A Few More Minutes with Andy Rooney

By Chris Ariens Comment

Friends and colleagues from across the TV spectrum joined Andy Rooney’s four children this morning at Rose Hall, bidding farewell to the CBS News essayist, who died November 4 following complications from minor surgery.

Rooney’s son Brian Rooney, a longtime correspondent at ABC News, hosted the memorial service which included remarks from Andy Rooney’s three daughters, Ellen Rooney, Emily Rooney and Martha Fishel and Rooney’s girlfriend of 7 years, former “Today” show “girl” Beryl Pfizer, who had known Rooney since 1950. Rooney’s grandchildren were there, including Justin Fishel Pentagon producer for Fox News Channel.

Brian Rooney talked about how, over the past several weeks he’s gone through his father’s belongings and found everything from a $6,000 uncashed check from CBS, to a diary entry dated March 8, 1941: “Went to Gallagher’s. Don’t get chicken at a steakhouse.”

“What you saw, was the same show that we had at dinnertime,” said Rooney.

CBS News chairman and “60 Minutes” EP Jeff Fager as well as Rooney’s “60” family: Morley Safer, Steve Kroft and Scott Pelley all spoke at the service.

Safer talked of Rooney’s “rich, eccentric legacy.” A man who filled American homes “like a piece of the Sunday furniture, like a portrait on the wall, like the TV itself.”

Safer then introduced a video which included outtakes of his interview with Rooney conducted last Spring. Showing a picture of the early correspondents: Harry Reasoner, Mike Wallace and Diane Sawyer, Rooney stopped at Sawyer — who was not able to attend. “She’s the prettiest girl I

ever met. God she’s good-looking,” Rooney chuckles. “It never went any further than that.”

Kroft (right) remembered his friend as “one of the last living personages of a great generation. Of a different time.”

And Pelley talked about how, for the last several years he’s had the honor of being the correspondent who says, “Those stories and Andy Rooney, tonight on ’60 Minutes.'”

“The week after Andy’s last commentary, I stumbled over the line and we had to re-shoot,” said Pelley. “And Andy Rooney wasn’t just a loss of three words, it was a void.”

Others in the crowd included: from NBC, Brian Williams and Meredith Vieira, a former “60” correspondent; from Fox News Bill O’Reilly, and Pentagon correspondent Jennifer Griffin; CBS Sports president Sean McManus. ABC News president Ben Sherwood, Christiane Amanpour, and Rick Kaplan. Former CBSers Andy Heyward and Rome Hartman and dozens more friends and colleagues, including Judy Hole, whose friendship with Rooney goes back nearly 50 years, when she joined CBS as a secretary in 1962. Hole called Rooney, “One of that gifted generation who taught me to be fair, honest, accurate and honorable.”

The program from the memorial service for Andy Rooney who died Nov. 4, 2011