Andy Rooney to end his regular run on "60 Minutes"

(Reuters) - Andy Rooney, the curmudgeonly essayist who has appeared on CBS’s “60 Minutes” for more than 30 years, will end his run as a regular commentator on the popular TV news magazine this Sunday, producers said.

CBS News 60 Minutes commentator Andy Rooney arrives for the funeral service for longtime CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite at St.Bartholomew's Church in New York, July 23, 2009. REUTERS/ Mike Segar

Rooney, 92, has appeared for more than 40 years on “60 Minutes,” in total, starting with the show’s first season in 1968. But it was 10 years later that he began providing commentary at the program’s end in which he put his unique stamp on the show.

In “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” which concludes the hour-long news show, the TV essayist offers his commentary on topics as big and important as wars and presidential politics and as seemingly mundane as doors or consumer products.

His opinions are unique, unabashed, sometimes controversial and always Andy Rooney.

“There’s nobody like Andy and there never will be. He’ll hate hearing this, but he’s an American original,” Jeff Fager, chairman of CBS News, said in a statement on Tuesday.

While he will end his weekly appearances, Rooney may appear in special segments from time-to-time. “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,” Fager said.

Rooney will announce his departure from the show this Sunday in his 1,097th original essay for “60 Minutes.” Rooney also looks back on his career with correspondent Morley Safer.

The essayist had been a contributor to “60 Minutes” since the program’s inception in 1968 when he first appeared in silhouette as part of a segment called “Ipso and Facto.”

His full-time run began in July 1978 with an essay about the reporting of automobile fatalities on the Independence Day weekend, and he later became a regular feature of the program. In Fall 1979, he officially took over the end-of-show period.

He joined CBS in 1949 as a writer for “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts,” and over the years, he wrote books, magazine articles and won several awards for TV reporting and writing. (Reporting and writing by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Zorianna Kit)