An actor who became familiar to many television viewers through his role on the long-running CBS sitcom “M*A*S*H” has died. The New York Times reports that Allan Arbus, who played caustic psychiatrist Maj. Sidney Freedman on the Korean War series, died Friday at his home in Los Angeles at 95.
Arbus, who was once married to the famous photographer Diane Arbus, left the fashion photography business the couple had created to pursue an acting career starting in the late 1960s. He went on to appear in many TV series, including guest spots early in his career on “Here Come the Brides,” “Mod Squad” and “The Odd Couple.”
He was later seen on “Taxi,” “Cagney & Lacey,” “L.A. Law” and “Matlock,” among many others. Toward the end of his acting career he appeared in “NYPD Blue” and “Judging Amy,” both in 1999, and in “Curb Your Enthusiasm” in 2000.
Arbus also had a number of film appearances, including “Cinderella Liberty,” “The Electric Horseman” and “Crossroads.”
“M*A*S*H” star Alan Alda once said of working with Arbus on the show: “I was so convinced that he was a psychiatrist I used to sit and talk with him between scenes. After a couple months of that I noticed he was giving me these strange looks, like ‘How would I know the answer to that?’”
The Times notes: “Allan Franklin Arbus was born in New York City on Feb. 15, 1918. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School and entered City College at 15. He left college a year and a half later for a job at Russek’s Department Store, where he met Diane Nemerov, the daughter of the store’s owners.
“They married in 1941 and became passionate about photography. They shot fashion photographs for Russek’s before Mr. Arbus left to serve as a photographer in the Army Signal Corps in Burma during World War II. When he was discharged in 1946 the Arbuses established a studio on West 54th Street for fashion photography and soon won a contract from Conde Nast to supply photos for magazines like Glamour and Vogue.”
The couple divorced in 1969, and Diane Arbus committed suicide in 1971. Allan Arbus remarried in 1976, the piece notes.