NEW YORK – Andy Rooney insisted he's not retiring. He's a writer, and a writer never stops being a writer.
Even so, he delivered his final weekly essay on "60 Minutes" Sunday night, his last in his 33 years with the newsmagazine. It was a moment, he said he has dreaded.
"I wish I could do this forever. I can't, though," he said.
CBS News announced last week that the 92-year-old Rooney would be stepping down from his well-entrenched berth on "60 Minutes" after delivering his 1,097th commentary.
"I probably haven't said anything here that you didn't already know or have already thought," he said. "That's what a writer does. A writer's job is to tell the truth."
Rooney began his long career by writing the words for people to say who were on TV or radio. Then when he began his weekly "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney" in 1978, he began saying them on camera himself, though not as a television personality, but as "a writer who reads what he's written."
Rooney said in his farewell piece that he has lived a lucky life, luckier than most. But befitting his trademark crotchety nature, he voiced one parting complaint: He doesn't like being famous, nor does he like being bothered by fans.
"I spent my first 50 years trying to become well known as a writer, and the next 30 trying to avoid being famous," he said. "I walk down the street now or go to a football game and people shout, `Hey, Andy!' And I hate that."
So if you see him in a restaurant, Rooney said as he signed off, "please, just let me eat my dinner."