Allan Arbus

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Allan Arbus
Born (1918-02-15)February 15, 1918
New York City, New York,
United States
Died April 19, 2013(2013-04-19) (aged 95)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Occupation Actor, Photographer
Years active 1961–2000
Spouse(s) Diane Arbus (1941–1969; divorced; 2 children)
Mariclare Costello (1977–2013; his death; 1 child)

Allan Franklin Arbus (February 15, 1918 – April 19, 2013)[1] was an American actor notable for his role as psychiatrist Dr. Sidney Freedman on the television series M*A*S*H.

Early life[edit]

Arbus was born in New York City, of Jewish background,[2] the son of stockbroker Harry Arbus and his wife Rose (née Goldberg).[3] He attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, where he first developed an interest in acting while appearing in a student play.[4]

Arbus was also a music lover. Before becoming an actor, he was reportedly so taken by Benny Goodman's recordings that he took up playing the clarinet.[4]

Photography career[edit]

During the 1940s, Arbus became a photographer for the United States Army. In 1946, after completing his military service, he and his first wife, photographer Diane Arbus (née Nemerov, whom he had married in 1941), started a photographic advertising business in Manhattan. Arbus was primarily known for advertising photography that appeared in Glamour, Seventeen, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and other magazines, as well as the weekly newspaper advertising photography for Russek's, a Fifth Avenue department store owned by Diane's father.[5] Edward Steichen's noted photo exhibition The Family of Man includes a photograph credited to the couple.[6] The Arbuses' professional partnership ended in 1956, when Diane quit the business; the couple formally separated three years later. Allan Arbus continued on for a number of years as a solo photographer, but was out of the business by the time the couple divorced in 1969.

Diane and Allan Arbus's studio/living quarters were at one time at 319 East 72nd Street in New York City. Their neighbor and friend was Robert Brown, an actor on the TV show Here Come the Brides.

Acting career[edit]

After the breakup of his first marriage and the dissolution of his business, Arbus decided to leave photography behind and pursue a new career in acting. In 1969 he moved to California.[7] His new career took off after he landed the lead role in Robert Downey Sr.'s cult film Greaser's Palace (1972), in which he appears with Robert Downey, Jr. (who would go on to star as Diane Arbus's muse in Fur, a fictional account of the end of the Arbuses' marriage). Arbus also starred opposite Bette Davis in Scream, Pretty Peggy in 1973, and was featured as Gregory LaCava in W.C. Fields and Me in 1976. These roles led to his casting as Maj. Sidney Freedman on M*A*S*H, although in an early episode, "Radar's Report" (1973), he was called "Milton Freedman".

Arbus's work on M*A*S*H helped his career as a character actor, and he eventually appeared in more than 70 TV shows and movies.[8] He appears briefly in the 1973 film Cinderella Liberty as a drunken sailor; another 1973 film, Coffy (starring Pam Grier), features Arbus as a drug dealer with strange sexual needs; in the 1978 movie Damien: Omen II, he plays Pasarian, one of Damien's many victims in The Omen trilogy.

Arbus is far better known for his television work, which includes over 45 titles and works as recent as Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2000.[8] Among Arbus's non-M*A*S*H TV work are guest and recurring roles in such television series as Law & Order, In the Heat of the Night, L.A. Law, Matlock, Starsky and Hutch, and Judging Amy.

Personal life[edit]

Allan and Diane Arbus had two children, photographer Amy Arbus and writer and art director Doon Arbus. The couple separated in 1959 and divorced in 1969, two years before Diane Arbus's suicide in 1971.

Arbus married actress Mariclare Costello in 1977. The couple have one daughter, Arin Arbus, who is the Associate Artistic Director at Theatre for a New Audience.

Arbus died of congestive heart failure on April 19, 2013, in Los Angeles. He was 95.[1]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1982 Quincy, M.E. Dr. Ellerick For Love of Joshua
1973-
1983
M*A*S*H Major Sidney Freedman & Major Milton Freedman 12 Episodes
1984 The World of Don Camillo Christ voice
1984 The Four Seasons Boris Elliot 13 episodes
1985 Cagney & Lacey Arthur Stacey Violation
1985 Volunteers Albert Bardenaro
1985 Hardcastle and McCormick Dr. Friedman Do Not go Gentle
1986 Crossroads Dr. Santis
1986 Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color Dr. Andreas Hellman A Fighting Choice
1987 From the Hip Phil Ames
1987 Spies Jano Baby
1987 Daniel and the Towers Simon 'Sam' Rodia
1987 Ohara Sol Rostoff The Intruders
1987 Duet Mr. Coleman Born, Bred and Buttered in Brooklyn
1987 Matlock Peter Leoni The Chef
1989 L.A. Law Lawrence Stone I'm in the Nude for Love
1989 The Preppie Murder Arnold Domenitz
1989 Matlock Aaron Mitchell The Star
1989 When He's Not a Stranger Judge Thomas J. Gray
1990 Hunter Norman Tate Unfinished Business
1990 Too Much Sun Vincent
1991 Stat Hesh Cooper Safe Smuggling &
Fantasy
1991-
1992
Brooklyn Bridge Dr. Schulman 3 episodes
1993 Law & Order Dominique Keith Animal Instinct
1993 Josh and S.A.M. Businessman on plane
1992-
1993
In The Heat of the Night Dr. Atwill Discovery
Little Girl Lost
1994 Mad About You Albert The Last Scampi
1997 In Dark Places Dory
1998 L.A. Doctors Mr. Mitski A Prayer for the living
1999 Making Contact Father Time
1999 NYPD Blue Seymore Epstein Don't Meth with me
1999 Judging Amy Judge Fowler 3 episodes
2000 Curb Your Enthusiasm Uncle Nathan The Group

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "MASH actor Allan Arbus dies at 95". BBC News. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  2. ^ Bloom, Nate (2005-05-05). "Celebrity Jews". The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California. Retrieved 2006-12-13. 
  3. ^ Allan Arbus Biography (1918–)
  4. ^ a b Boehm, Mike (2000-12-31). "Theater; Lured Back for One Last Great Role; Veteran actor Allan Arbus leaves a fulfilling retirement to take on an Arthur Miller part he found he couldn't resist.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-09-14. "Arbus says he yearned to be an actor from his early teens, when he had a moment of special clarity while playing in a student production at DeWitt Clinton High School." 
  5. ^ Lubow, Arthur. "Arbus Reconsidered." New York Times, September 14, 2003. Retrieved February 7, 2010.
  6. ^ Marshall, Peter. "Diane Arbus: Key Facts". About.com. Retrieved 2006-12-22. 
  7. ^ Trounson, Rebecca (April 23, 2013). "Allan Arbus dies at 95; played psychiatrist on 'MASH'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-04-24. 
  8. ^ a b "IMDb Filmography for Allan Arbus". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2011-07-01. 

External links[edit]