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Actor Allan Arbus dies at 95; played psychiatrist on 'MASH' TV show

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/25/2013 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Actor was married to legendary photographer Diane Arbus

As an actor, Allan Arbus is perhaps best known as psychiatrist Dr. Sidney Freedman who tended to shell-shocked troops of the Korean War in the long-running hit TV series "MASH." Privately, he was married to the legendary photographer Diane Arbus, best known for her portraits of marginalized people. Arbus has died at the age of 95.

Allan Arbus and his wife Diane had previously enjoyed a successful career in fashion photography. The couple divorced in 1969 but remained close.

Allan Arbus and his wife Diane had previously enjoyed a successful career in fashion photography. The couple divorced in 1969 but remained close.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
4/25/2013 (4 years ago)

Published in TV

Keywords: Allan Arbus, Diane Arbus, MASH, TV series, photographer


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Alan Alda, who played Capt. "Hawkeye" Pierce, said that Arbus "was so authentic in the role it was hard to believe that he wasn't that person."

Arbus infused his role with empathy and his own life experience, Alda said. "He brought a depth . to what he faced as a psychiatrist on the show," Alda said. "It helped the audience and . actors believe some of the stresses our characters were under."

Arbus was a latecomer to the acting biz, beginning in his forties. He and his wife Diane had previously enjoyed a successful career in fashion photography. The couple divorced in 1969 but remained close. The couple had severed their professional partnership in 1956, when she began her series of unflinching portraiture for which she became famous. Diane committed suicide in 1971.

A native of New York City, Arbus finished high school at 15 and enrolled at City College of New York. He soon left, going to work at Russek's, a women's specialty store in New York City. There, when he was 18 and she was 13, he met Diane Nemerov, daughter of the store's co-owner. The couple married in 1941 and pursued their interest in photography, with Allan giving Diane her first camera.

Arbus joined the Army Signal Corps in 1941, serving as a photographer in Burma. After he returned, he and his wife opened their own studio, doing advertising and other photography for Russek's and eventually for Glamour and Vogue magazines.

After his wife left the business for her own work, Arbus kept the photo studio but also began taking acting lessons.

Arbus met actress Mariclare Costello and they married in 1976. She survives him, along with their daughter, Arin, and his daughters Doon and Amy, from his marriage with Diane.

Arbus moved to California to further his acting career. Two of his most memorable film acting roles were the ones in which he was directed by Robert Downey Sr. that achieved cult status, "Putney Swope" in 1969 and "Greaser's Palace" in 1972, in which he played a zoot-suited Jesus. In the 1970s and 1980s, he appeared regularly on several TV series.

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