Photo Credit: CBS
"This is a moment I have dreaded," 60 Minutes institution Andy Rooney said as he read his 1,097th and final essay for the CBS long-form news program Sunday night. The 92-year-old commentator has been a staple on the show for 33 years, but announced last week that Sunday's 60 Minutes would be his last regular appearance on the show. Watch Andy sign off for the final time below.
"I wish I could do this forever. I can't though," Rooney said in his farewell essay Sunday night. "But I'm not retiring. Writers don't retire and I'll always be a writer."
His most important message: Let him live a normal life. Rooney has made a name for himself for being curmudgeonly, but he said he does "care a lot" about what everyone else thinks of his opinion. "Being liked is nice but it's not my intent," he said -- adding that he'd prefer it if you didn't come up to him on the street or in a restaurant if you recognize him. "Please, just let me eat my dinner," he said, perhaps half-jokingly.
That being said, Rooney made sure to say how grateful he was for the life he's had a chance to live. He's been paid to speak his mind on television, he pointed out, and "you don't get any luckier in life than that."
"A writers' job is to tell the truth," he said. "I believe that if all the truth were known about everything in the world it would be a better place to live. I know I've been terribly wrong sometimes, but I think I've been right more than I've been wrong."
Rooney will be well-missed at CBS. Jeff Fager, the chairman of CBS News and executive producer of 60 Minutes, released a statement last week saying Rooney will always be welcome back to their famous Sunday night television show.
"There's nobody like Andy and there never will be. He'll hate hearing this, but he's an American original," Fager said. "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."
There's no word on whether or not CBS will attempt to replace Rooney on the show, and we're crossing our fingers that they don't try.