Entered college at age 14, but left within a year to pursue an entertainment career.
Was an accomplished cellist.
Began a vaudeville act at age 15 with his brother Teddy.
Worked in a Chicago speakeasy owned by Al Capone, who would occasionally invite him to his home to play the cello and, in return, would make him spaghetti.
Decided to head to Los Angeles after being caught in the middle of a speakeasy shootout in Chicago.
Once appeared on 75 radio shows in a week.
Composed several songs, including the Andrews Sisters' hit "Rum and Coca-Cola."
Was known as the "Human Joke Machine" because he had jokes for all subjects.
First met and befriended fellow Dick Van Dyke Show costar Rose Marie when she was 9 and billed as Baby Rose Marie; she appeared on a radio show that he wrote for.
Wrote jokes for six U.S. presidents: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Also penned jokes for other comedians, including Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Fanny Brice, Will Rogers and Henny Youngman.
Became friends with Ronald Reagan during the 1940s, when Amsterdam was a screenwriter and Reagan was Screen Actors Guild president.
Taught a comedy class at UCLA.
1966, Emmy — Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Comedy: Nominee
Jenny Amsterdam — Mother
Theodore Amsterdam — Brother
Gregory Amsterdam — Son
Max Amsterdam — Father
Mabel Todd — Ex-wife
Kay Patrick — Wife
Cathy Amsterdam — Daughter
Attended University of California, Berkeley, California, United States