Urban Archeologist: A Few Minutes With… Andy Rooney’s Estate

Remembering a beloved icon through the things he left behind.

I am not someone who could be described as star-struck. I have had plenty of opportunities to fawn all over some of the not-so-poor and mostly-famous. (WARNING: I am about to name drop, which is something normally done by someone who is star-struck.) I have had breakfast with Dr. Ruth and Jim Belushi, dinner with Larry Linville (Frank Burns of the TV Series M*A*S*H), and even had Dr. Hunter S. Thompson tell me in a drunken stupor that, “You were not a problem.” However, when traveling the tag-sale-trail, you might just find yourself rummaging through the homes of the famous like an unrestrained stalker. I did.

While scanning the Internet looking for potential digs last week, I came across an ad for a sale that flaunted the name of the posthumous owner of the items in the estate. CBS host/commentator Andy Rooney is someone I’ve followed for almost as many years as he closed out the regular Sunday evening newsmagazine “60 Minutes.” First, as a captive of my parents, who would often howl with laughter at his wry take on the foibles of American society, and later, as a fan with my wife, enjoying the comic relief in comparison to some of the heavier stories the other hosts would cover.

Andy Rooney certainly aged in appearance over the years, but his brain seemed as sharp during his last broadcast as it did the first time I saw him. His “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” was a staple of the broadcast from 1978 until his retirement this past October when he bid us all a fond farewell in his own irascible style. Sadly, just one month later, he died due to complications from a minor surgery at the age of 92, leaving us to provide his curmudgeonly satire in an otherworldly place.

Deciding to travel the 45-55 minutes to Norwalk was based on a desire to find out more about the man behind so many a Sunday nights’ brief broadcast. I will stop short of writing his biography, many writers better than I have already done that. However, you may be interested to see inside the home of someone whose own fame and notoriety didn’t go to his head. The images above show a home that is more quaint than palatial. I think Andy Rooney liked the simple life and his Norwalk home reflected simplicity and comfort without opulence.

I didn’t go expecting to buy anything — I never do — it just happens. Although his famous Underwood typewriter had been sold ($3,000), I did enjoy sitting at his desk, likely crafted by him in the workshop that clearly showed his love of carpentry. He owned many (signed) books, and a moderate collection of artwork. I finally settled on a couple of books, one with a classic scrawl of his. It was my wife who suggested I purchase one of his ties. I discovered those ties to be among the more popular items at the sale. Maybe everyone remembers, like my wife and I, a few of segments on “60 Minutes” where Andy shared his opinion of ties or the dress codes of CBS.

I miss Andy Rooney. He definitely was someone who told it like it was. Sunday evenings won’t be the same with out him. Thanks to the discovery of the sale I was able to pay my respects and end with a good buy.

Greg Van Antwerp is a Brookfield resident and blogger, who can be found on the weekends in search of a good “dig” or a good story.  You can read more about his adventures by visiting his blog.

Jaimie Cura March 09, 2012 at 04:15 PM
That's so cool, Jackie! Congratulations on your find. And oh, the books! I would have been like a kid in a candy shop! If you need any help uploading photos, let me know. When you click on the "upload photos" button underneath Greg's photos, it brings up a window on your desktop or you can navigate to the folder where you're keeping the photos. Again, let me know if you have questions during the process!
Jackie March 09, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Kind of a Freudian Slip -- "word working"! And, thank you, I really enjoyed looking at everything in his house, and picking thru all of the stuff, too. Yes, you're right about the desk -- he made that and a sort of coffee table with a piece of slate inserted in the top. Not really Ethan Allen, but definitely Andy Rooney. I used to work in Manhattan and took the train in every day. I remember being in the same car with him a few times and didn't know he was there until he said something. You really knew then that it was him on the train. Jaimie, thank you for helping me try to upload photos I took. Hope it works...here goes....
Jackie March 09, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Hey, it worked. Pictures are there! Thank you, again for your help, Jaimie!
Jaimie Cura March 10, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Jackie, you're awesome and the photos are too! Such cool conversation starters!
Suzen Pettit March 15, 2012 at 05:54 PM
oh man, I loved Andy. 60 Minutes has always been a fixture and for many years the only allowable TV at the dinner table-other than a few wayward years of a Jeapardy obsession. By far, I waited and anticipated seeing and listening to Andy's bitching about whatever there was to complain about that week, and marveling at his ever growing eyebrows. I enjoyed these last few minutes usually more than the bulk of the dead serious news show. It was painful to see him go and 60 Minutes won't ever be the same without him...add me to your list of jealous people. Had no idea he lived in Norwalk...


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