1001 W 75TH ST. WOODRIDGE, IL 630-427-1880

Hollywood Memorial

Morey Amsterdam

Born right here in Chicago, his father was a concert violinist and he himself was an accomplished cellist. Amsterdam started in vaudeville at the age of 14, as a straight man for his piano-playing brother. By the he was 16 he was working at a Chicago speakeasy owned by Al Capone. When he was caught in the middle of a shootout in the club one night, Amsterdam decided to seek safer bookings. He moved to California, where he became a writer and gag man for such stars as Fanny Brice, Jimmy Durante and Will Rogers. Morey would become known as the ‘Human Joke Machine’ because he could tell a joke about any subject on request. In the 1930s and 1940s he was on the radio, where his humor brought him fame and notoriety. By 1947 he had three different daily radio shows and comedian Fred Allen said, ‘The only thing I can turn on without getting Amsterdam is the faucet’. Amsterdam was the host of the talk show ‘Broadway Open House’ (1950), the precursor to NBC’s ‘The Tonight Show’ in its various forms. His real fame, though, would come after he had spent almost four decades in the business, playing the part of wisecracking comedy writer Buddy Sorrell in the classic ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ . For Morey, who was reportedly able to recall up to 100,000 jokes, it was the role of a lifetime.