Allan Arbus (1918-2013)


Allan Arbus, best known for his role as Dr. Sidney Freedman on M*A*S*H, passed away on Friday, April 19 at the age of 95.

Arbus was born February 18, 1918 in New York City. He married Diane Nemerov in 1941 and the pair become well known photographers. Arbus also served as a photographer for the Army Signal Corps during World War II. The two developed a thriving photography business, but the business was closed in 1956. After the closure, Diane gained fame for her photography of marginalized people, and Arbus continued to work in fashion photography, but he also began to act. The couple separated in 1959 and divorced in 1969. Following their divorce, Arbus moved to Los Angeles to continue acting. Diane committed suicide in 1972, and Arbus married Mariclare Costello in 1976.

Arbus is best known for his reoccurring role as Dr. Freedman in M*A*S*H, in which he made 12 appearance. But he appeared in a number of movies and television shows with his last appearance coming in 2001. His film credits include Coffey and Crossroads. He also appeared in a number of popular television shows including Taxi, Starsky & Hutch, Matlock, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

For me and legions of other M*A*S*H fans, Arbus will be long remembered as the witty psychiatrist, Dr. Freedman. He has always been described by his fellow actors as a very nice and hardworking man. Arbus was such a convincing actor, that Alan Alda recalled talking with him between takes on M*A*S*H about psychology. Alda recalled, “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?’”

Allan Arbus is survived by his wife, Mariclare, and three daughters, Amy and Doon form his from marriage and Arin from his second.


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