Morey Amsterdam

Actor, Comedian, Screenwriter
This short, fast-talking comic of TV and nightclubs gained his biggest fame as comedy writer Buddy Sorrell on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (CBS, 1961-66). Known as The Human Joke Machine, Amsterdam began his career as a ... Read more »
Born: 12/13/1908 in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Filmography

Actor (29)

The Young and the Restless 1972 - 2015 (TV Show)

Actor

Caroline in the City 1995 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

Cybill 1993 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

Herman's Head 1993 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

Saturday Night Live 1975 - 1976, 1993 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Dick Van Dyke Show Remembered 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

1991 King Orange Jamboree Parade 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Comic Relief V 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

1st & Ten: In Your Face! 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Sandman 1991 (Movie)

(Actor)

Side By Side 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

The Hollywood Squares 1966 - 1981 (TV Show)

Actor

Sooner or Later 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

Mixed Nuts 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Actor

Can You Top This? 1969 - 1970 (TV Show)

Actor

The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit 1968 (Movie)

Charlie Blake (Actor)

The Dick Van Dyke Show 1961 - 1966 (TV Show)

Actor

Beach Party 1963 (Movie)

Cappy (Actor)

Muscle Beach Party 1963 (Movie)

Cappy (Actor)

Gay Purr-ee 1961 (Movie)

(Voice)

Murder, Inc. 1960 (Movie)

Walter Sage (Actor)

Machine Gun Kelly 1958 (Movie)

Fandango (Actor)

It Came From Outer Space 1953 (Movie)

(Actor)

Hollywood Star Revue 1948 - 1949 (TV Show)

Actor

Here It Is, Burlesque! (TV Show)

Actor

Honeymoon Suite (TV Show)

Actor

Rudolph's Shiny New Year (TV Show)

Voice

Vaudeville (TV Show)

Actor
Producer (1)

Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title 1965 (Movie)

(Producer)

Biography

This short, fast-talking comic of TV and nightclubs gained his biggest fame as comedy writer Buddy Sorrell on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (CBS, 1961-66). Known as The Human Joke Machine, Amsterdam began his career as a cellist, then entered vaudeville with his brother. While performing, he penned jokes for such stars as Fanny Brice and Will Rogers, and co-wrote such songs as "Rum and Coca-Cola" and "Why Oh Why Did I Ever Leave Wyoming?". He was also a screenwriter for MGM and for various radio shows. By the late 1940s, Amsterdam was writing gags for himself, appearing on three daily series in 1947 alone (he once did 75 shows in one week). He also wrote political gags for Presidents Roosevelt, Johnson and Reagan.

Amsterdam started in TV early, when his CBS radio series, "The Morey Amsterdam Show" was transferred to the small screen in 1948. He also loaned his talents to such comedy and quiz shows as "Stop Me If You've Heard This One" (NBC, 1948), "Broadway Open House" (NBC, 1950), "Can You Top This?" (ABC, 1950-51), "Battle of the Ages" (CBS, 1952), "Who Said That?" (NBC, 1954) and "Keep Talking" (CBS, 1958-60). Amsterdam made his debut as a dramatic actor on a 1952 segment of "Not for Publication" (Dumont).

But it was "The Dick Van Dyke Show" that brought Amsterdam lasting fame. He and Rose Marie, as Van Dyke's co-workers, brought a fast-paced vaudeville sensibility to the modern suburban sitcom. Insulting Mel (Richard Deacon) or his wife Pickles, or thinking up on-the-spot gags, Buddy Sorrell was a high point of the show. He also one of the first openly Jewish TV characters (in one episode, Buddy treated himself to a belated Bar Mitzvah).

His film career was spotty at best. Amsterdam wrote the screenplay for "The Ghost and the Guest" (1943) and made small appearances in such films as "It Came from Outer Space" (1953), "Machine Gun Kelly" (1958), "Murder, Inc." (1960), "Beach Party" (1963) and "Muscle Beach Party" (1964), and "The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit" (1968). He also wrote and appeared in the comedy "Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title" (1966) and had a bit part in the thriller "Sandman" (1992). In later years, Amsterdam appeared on "The Hollywood Squares" (NBC, 1966-81), "Comedy Break" (syndicated, 1985), the daytime soap "The Young and the Restless" (CBS, 1989-90, as a kidnapper), "First and Ten: In Your Face!" (HBO, 1990) and "Comic Relief" (HBO, 1992). He executive produced a 1970 revival of the show "Can You Top This?" (syndicated) and kept busy on the nightclub and college circuit. He was last seen with "Van Dyke" co-star Rose Marie on an episode of NBC's "Caroline in the City" in 1996.

Relationships

Jenny Amsterdam

Mother

Kay Amsterdam

Wife
married on December 17, 1941 survived him

Max Amsterdam

Father
member of the San Francisco Symphony

Cathy Amsterdam

Daughter
survived him

Gregory Amsterdam

Son
survived him

EDUCATION

University of California at Berkeley

Berkeley , California

Milestones

1996

Last TV appearance, episode of NBC sitcom "Caroline in the City" which also featured Rose Marie

1969

Debut as executive producer, "Can You Top This?"

1953

Film acting debut, "It Came from Outer Space"

1948

TV debut "Stop Me If You've Heard This One"

1948

Hosted his own show "The Morey Amsterdam Show"

1932

Wrote material for Al Pearce Gang

1930

Appeared as musician with Optimistic Doughnut Program and Rube Wolf Orchestra

1930

Wrote comedy material for Fanny Brice and Will Rogers

1922

Radio debut as tenor

Appeared in "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (CBS) as Buddy Sorrell

Talk show host of "Broadway Open House" precursor to NBC's "The Tonight Show"

Co-starred in series "Keep Talking"

Worked for network radio and as a screenwriter at MGM during the 1930s

Had three daily radio shows; has never-broken record for doing 75 programs in one week

Had regular role on the CBS daytime drama "The Young and the Restless" as a bumbling kidnapper

Bonus Trivia

.

Amsterdam Owned The Playgoers Club, a comedy club in New York.

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