Berman was in high school when he began drawing cartoons for the Hartford Courant. He went to New York to study art and then landed a position as a staff cartoonist for the Newark Star Eagle. During the 1930s his political cartoons were published in color in Collier's.
He designed titles for Nothing Sacred (1937) and other films of the 1930s. His murals graced the walls of the Café Society club in Greenwich Village, and he illustrated Mark Hellinger's syndicated newspaper column, "Goin' to Town", throughout the 1930s and the 1940s. During World War II, he did a series depicting Nazi leaders.
After WWII, he did art for advertising agencies and created caricatures of leading radio performers for NBC's promotion, The NBC Parade of Stars as Seen by Sam Berman: As Heard over Your Favorite NBC Station (1947), which had a print run of 5,000,000. With a tight deadline, he created caricatures of NBC's most popular radio personalities and shows, each printed on a separate 6"x7" card, and inserted in a green vinyl slipcase. The set of 56 caricatures included Fred Allen, Jack Benny, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Milton Berle, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Judy Canova, Eddie Cantor, Jerry Colonna, Dennis Day, Bob Hope, Eddy Howard, H. V. Kaltenborn, Kay Kyser, Art Linkletter, Robert Merrill, Frank Sinatra and Red Skelton, as well as the stars of Amos 'n' Andy, A Date with Judy, Dr. I. Q., The Great Gildersleeve, Mr. District Attorney, The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show, Truth or Consequences and Quiz Kids.
His advertising art included a unique approach of caricaturing ordinary people, as seen in his Pitney-Bowes Postage Meter ad which ran in The Saturday Evening Post in 1955. His children's books include Pixie Pete's Christmas Party (1937), Miriam Schlein's Shapes (Scott Foresman, 1952) and Dinosaur Joke Book (Grosset & Dunlap, 1969). Other books illustrated by Berman include Sullivan Bites News: Perverse News Items (Little, Brown, 1954) by Frank Sullivan.
Berman died in 1995 in New York City, 2 weeks after his 88th birthday.
- Feaver, William; Gould, Ann (1981). Masters of caricature: from Hogarth and Gillray to Scarfe and Levine. Knopf. p. 182.
- Sam Berman Finds 'Stingless' Cartoons Keep Subjects Happy
- NBC Parade of Stars: As Heard Over Your Favorite NBC Station, National Broadcasting Corporation, 1947.
- Drew Friedman
- Briesemeister, W. A. "Some Three-Dimensional Relief Globes, Past and Present"
- "Globe Inflated Like a Beach Ball Gives an Old World a New Look", The New York Times, November 29, 1956.