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Morey Amsterdam, the comic actor best known as the wisecracking television writer on "The Dick Van Dyke Show," died of a heart attack Monday. He was in his 80s.

Born in Chicago, Amsterdam started in vaudeville and performed in nightclubs before doing radio in the 1930s. In the late 1940s, he moved to television.

In the 1960s hit sitcom "The Dick Van Dyke Show," Amsterdam played Buddy Sorrell, part of a television writing team that also included Van Dyke and Rose Marie.

"There was something ageless with him. Probably 100,000 jokes in his head went with him," said Van Dyke.

"He was just a very dear, sweet man," said Marie, who played Sally Rogers. "He knew every joke, he knew every switch on every joke. His mind was the greatest mind that ever happened."

Amsterdam suffered a heart attack at home and died in Cedars Sinai Hospital early Monday, said hospital spokesman Ron Wise.

Various Hollywood reference books listed his birthday as Dec. 14 in 1912 or 1914, making him 83 or 81. Marie said he was 87.

Amsterdam's father, a member of the San Francisco Symphony, wanted him to be a concert musician. Instead, he used his cello in his comedy routines.

His first TV appearance was "Stop Me If You've Heard This One," in 1948. That same year he hosted his own variety show, "The Morey Amsterdam Show," which ran until 1950. Then he was the host for the talk show "Broadway Open House," the precursor to NBC's "Tonight Show."


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