He received a master's degree in social work from Columbia University and became executive director of the Society for the Welfare of the Jewish Deaf. In 1930 Amateau graduated from Fordham Law School. He worked as an attorney and organized the Sephardic Democratic Club in New York.
In 1940 Amateau moved to Los Angeles, where he began the Foreign Language Service Co. that provided dubbing and subtitles for movies.
In 1992 he became honorary president of the American Society of Jewish Friends of Turkey, an organization that commemorated 500 years since the expelled Sephardim were invited to settle there.
He is survived by his wife, Edith, and his son Rod, who lives in Beverly Hills.
At his request, no service was held.