Allan Arbus, ‘MASH’ Actor, Dead at 95

Allan Arbus dead, starred in 'MASH"

Thesp was married to Diane Arbus

Allan Arbus, who ran a photography business with his wife Diane Arbus before becoming an actor who starred in “MASH,” died April 19 in Los Angeles. He was 95. His daughter Amy (pictured above) confirmed his death to the New York Times.

Arbus played Major Sidney Freedman, a psychiatrist, on the long-running TV show. “MASH” star Allan Alda said he found Arbus so convincing that he often opened up to him. “I was so convinced that he was a psychiatrist I used to sit and talk with him between scenes,” Alda told the Archive of American Television.

Born in New York City, he left college to work at Russek’s Department Store, where he met Diane Nemerov, whose parents owned the store. The couple married and shot fashion photographs before Arbus served as a photographer in the Army Signal Corps in Burma during WWII. After the war, they began shooting for magazines including Glamour and Vogue, until Diane Arbus left the business in 1956 to focus on her artistic photography.

Allan Arbus continued in fashion photography but also took up acting, appearing in shows such as “The Mod Squad,” “The Rockford Files,” “The Odd Couple” and “Hawaii Five-O.”  His most well-known role was in a dozen episodes of “MASH” as the liberal psychiatrist who had a zinger for every patient.

More recently he appeared in shows including “NYPD Blue,” “Judging Amy” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” which was his last TV appearance in 2000. He also appeared in films including “The Electric Horseman,” “The Last Married Man in America” and “Damien: Omen II.”

He separated from Diane Arbus in 1959 when he moved to Los Angeles, and she committed suicide in 1971. The couple were portrayed in the 2006 film “Fur” by Ty Burrell and Nicole Kidman.

He is survived by his wife Mariclare Costello, two daughters from his first marriage, and a daughter from his second marriage.

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  1. SAM FRENCH says:

    It was so sad to hear of Mr. Arbus’s death but all good things must end someday. He will always remain in my mind as the psychiatrist in MASH. I’ll see you soon. God Bless your family. Sam

  2. Mary Gray says:

    How sad! Our condolences to his family. May you rest in peace and may your family know you were loved by many………. for many years and years to come! Bless you and your family.

  3. Barry Str says:

    Allan was great in PUtney Swope and Greaser’s Palace, directed by Robert Downey (A Prince).

  4. Bev Wotton says:

    So sorry to hear of Alan’s passing. He was a an Actor who so easily made his Character’s real and believable. My heartfelt condolences to his family… this is a tough and very demanding business but, Alan’s Legacy is one that, I’m sure, makes each of you very proud. Alan was a credit to our Industry and will be missed. I pray each of you will know all the peace and comfort God has for you, and Alan, thanks for great memories! Respectfully, Bev Wotton, DGC, Canada

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