Andy Rooney, who has delivered his trademark witty commentary on "60 Minutes" since 1978, is stepping away from the CBS newsmagazine. Rooney, 92, will make his last regular appearance on the series on Sunday.
A release from "60 Minutes" gave no reason for Rooney's departure, but he will outline the announcement in his regular essay at the conclusion of the broadcast, which will mark his 1,097th essay for "60 Minutes." Rooney's commentary will be preceded by a segment in which Rooney will reflect on his career during an interview with Morley Safer.
Jeff Fager, chairman of CBS News and the executive producer of "60 Minutes," said in a statement, "There's nobody like Andy and there will never be. He'll hate hearing this, but he's an American original. His contributions to '60 Minutes' are immeasurable; he's also a great friend. It's harder for him to do it every week, but he will always have the ability to speak his mind on '60 Minutes' when the urge hits him."
Rooney also provoked controversy. He was suspended without pay by CBS News for three months in 1990 in response to complaints that he had made offensive comments about blacks and homosexuals.
Rooney's first essay for "60 Minutes" in 1978 was a report about automobile fatalities on the Independence Day weekend. He became a regular feature that fall, alternating weeks with the dueling James J. Kilpatrick and Shana Alexander before getting the end slot all to himself in the fall of 1979.
He also produced "60 Minutes" segments for Harry Reasoner during the broadcast's first few seasons.
-- Greg Braxton
Photo: Andy Rooney. Credit: Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press