Emily Rooney on Andy Rooney: ‘People got my dad. They knew who he was’

By Gail Shister 

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Veteran “60 Minutes” commentator Andy Rooney was surrounded by family when he died last night in a New York City hospital at age 92, according to one of his daughters.

“He was conscious almost until the end,” Emily Rooney, a producer and host at Boston’s WGBH, tells TVNewser. “He knew we were there. He let us know that.”

Mr. Rooney died from complications following minor surgery on Oct. 18, Emily said. Though declining to offer details, she said her father had undergone the procedure before.

“It was not a big deal, but it ended up being a big thing,” she said. “It was a total surprise to us that things didn’t work out.”

Also surprising was the extent of TV coverage today of her father’s passing, she said. “I flipped on the news this morning and it was everywhere. There was an odd, satisfying solace in that.

“People got my dad. They knew who he was. He wasn’t some crank who went on “60 Minutes” once a week. He was ‘every man.’”

A noted World War II correspondent, Mr. Rooney joined CBS in 1949 as a writer for “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts.” His “60” commentaries, A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney, ran from 1978 until his final regular appearance, on October 2. It was his 1,097th commentary.

The family will hold a private funeral service this week, with a CBS memorial at a later date, Emily said. Mr. Rooney will be buried in the family plot in Rensselaerville, N.Y., near his native Albany. Marguerite ‘Margie’ Rooney, his wife of 62 years, is also buried there.

The family has requested that all donations be sent to the Andrew A. Rooney Scholarship Fund at Colgate University, his 1942 alma mater. The address: 13 Oak Drive, Hamilton, N.Y. 13346.