Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Memories of Andy Rooney (another namedropping story).

One of the weirdest things about being on vacation is missing celebrity deaths. I was out of the country when Christopher Reeve died, and I got a shock several years later when I found out -- not that it affected my life in anyway, but it was still weird that I'd missed that news. Nowadays, Twitter keeps everyone up to date on such events, but when I'm out of wifi, I'm out of luck. I just found out that Andy Rooney died, and that made me super sad.

My parents never watched much television, but "60 Minutes" was mandatory Sunday viewing from as far back as I can remember. Even in my rebellious phase, I only pretended to be reading during the broadcast. In truth, I would listen to the stories (which, incidentally, were -- and I think still are -- produced to be listened to without any images, as one listen to their podcast will show you) from behind a book or computer screen. My favorite segment was always Andy Rooney -- a well-written bit of comic relief after the heartbreaking/nerve-wrattling magazine pieces.

Years later, Mr. Rooney was my elevator buddy during my time as an intern/production assistant/associate producer at CBS News. Most of the "60 Minutes" staff was relegated to the BMW building across the street, but Andy's office was in the main broadcasting building on West 57th. When I was working at "CBS This Morning," I worked on the same floor as he did. As crotchety as you'd imagine, that was just his honesty. If he thought the coffee at the Station Break was bad, he would tell you. He'd just as quickly tell you if he thought it was great or if your hair looked pretty (Thank you, sir!).

I only saw him a few times a month and mostly in the elevator, but he always remembered me as the girl from Louisville, a place he liked to visit from time to time. He told me he and a buddy there would play tennis on occasion. "Nice city," he told me during our first elevator ride, "I was there this weekend." Everytime I saw him, he would ask me about Kentucky and if I'd been home recently.

It also put me on my best elevator behavior. I didn't want to end up in one of his pieces, as in, "Why is it that young people today never hold the elevator door anymore?" or something like that...

Anyway, that's all the namedropping I've got today. I haven't really told many stories of my days at CBS, but there are loads to tell (like when Jeff Goldblum and I talked chord theory or when Bill Cosby pinched my bottom). If you need another, here's one I shared a few years ago about Walter Cronkite.


  1. Brigid,
    On of the highlights of my day is reading your blogs, but this one got my attention even more because I have always been a big fan of Andy Rooney. I would love to here more about your experiences with him and others at CBS (I just read the Cronkite piece).
    Andy to me like you was a humorous anecdote to the end of the "60 Minutes" broadcast when I was younger. His presentation and humor were astounding and to hear that someone I know confirm that he was just as inquisitive and crotchety in real life makes me wish I had met him even more.

    Keep writing!

  2. Hi, Goose! Thanks for the kind words ... i sometimes wonder if I'm just writing to myself:) Glad to know someone is reading this nonsense. I'll have to dig up that journal and write some more. Maybe i'll even find that old book i wrote... even if the writing is that of a 20-year-old, the stories are still funny:) Yes, he's one of those rare folks who was about to make a career out of being himself, I think. Something to aspire to!