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: 12/14/1908 in Chicago, Illinois, USA


Actor (29)

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


Caroline in the City 1995 - 1996 (Tv Show)


Cybill 1993 - 1996 (Tv Show)


Herman's Head 1993 - 1996 (Tv Show)


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


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


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


Comic Relief V 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)


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


Sandman 1991 (Movie)


Side By Side 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)


The Hollywood Squares 1966 - 1981 (TV Show)


Sooner or Later 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)


Mixed Nuts 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)


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


The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit 1968 (Movie)

Charlie Blake (Actor)

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


Beach Party 1963 (Movie)

Cappy (Actor)

Muscle Beach Party 1963 (Movie)

Cappy (Actor)

Gay Purr-ee 1961 (Movie)


Murder, Inc. 1960 (Movie)

Walter Sage (Actor)

Machine Gun Kelly 1958 (Movie)

Fandango (Actor)

It Came From Outer Space 1953 (Movie)


Hollywood Star Revue 1948 - 1949 (TV Show)


Here It Is, Burlesque! (TV Show)


Honeymoon Suite (TV Show)


Rudolph's Shiny New Year (TV Show)


Vaudeville (TV Show)

Producer (1)

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



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.


Jenny Amsterdam


Kay Amsterdam

married on December 17, 1941 survived him

Max Amsterdam

member of the San Francisco Symphony

Cathy Amsterdam

survived him

Gregory Amsterdam

survived him


University of California at Berkeley

Berkeley , California



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


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


Film acting debut, "It Came from Outer Space"


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


Hosted his own show "The Morey Amsterdam Show"


Wrote material for Al Pearce Gang


Appeared as musician with Optimistic Doughnut Program and Rube Wolf Orchestra


Wrote comedy material for Fanny Brice and Will Rogers


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.