Elixir of Life

With the passing of Andy Rooney today, I couldn’t help but notice one thing. In addition to taking your fish oil supplements, monitoring your cholesterol and having a dog are your best shot at living a long life seems to be working at 60 Minutes.

Now I hope this doesn’t sound too flippant. I’m sure an analysis of everyone who’s ever worked at the show over 40+ years would show a more balanced picture. And longtime 60 veteran Ed Bradley died a few years ago of leukemia at 65. Still, the folks who most stick out in my mind as associated with the show, the folks associated with the brand for decades, lived or are living to ripe old ages.

Let’s run down a few examples.Andy Rooney, died at 92.

Morley Safer, with us, 79.

Don Hewitt, died at 86.

Mike Wallace, with us, 93.

Dan Rather, with us, 80.

True, many people live into their 80s. When I think about it, I guess it’s not just the longevity, which certainly stands out in Rooney and Wallace’s cases. It’s the fact that so many of these guys — and yes, all guys — were working on the show well into their 80s or even 90s.

I may have an additional bias. I have a close friend who worked at 60 Minutes as a producer for many years and just left. And even though he’s only probably about 70, he looks like he’s maybe 55. So hopefully this has rubbed off on him.