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Allan Arbus
Allan Arbus
Allan Arbus in 2012.
Personal Information
Born: (1918-02-15)February 15, 1918
Birthplace New York City, New York, U.S.
Died: April 19, 2013(2013-04-19) (aged 95)
Occupation/
Career:
Actor, Photographer
Years active: 1961–2000
Spouse(s): Diane Arbus (1941–1969; divorced; 2 children)
Mariclare Costello (1977–2013; his death; 1 child)
Character information
Appeared on/in: M*A*S*H
Episodes appeared in: 12 episodes from Seasons 1-11
Character played: Major Sidney Freedman


Allan Arbus (born February 15, 1918, New York City-d.April 23, 2013) portrayed psychiatrist Dr. Sidney Freedman. He is also the former husband of the late Diane Arbus (born Diane Nemerov), a famous American photographer.

Early lifeEdit

Arbus was born in New York City of Jewish background,[1] the son of stockbroker Harry Arbus and his wife Rose (née Goldberg).[2] He attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, where he first developed an interest in acting while appearing in a student play.[3]

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

Photography career with Diane ArbusEdit

During the 1940s, Arbus became a photographer for the United States Army. 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 in 1946. 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.[4] Edward Steichen's noted photo exhibition The Family of Man includes a photograph credited to the couple.[5] 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 careerEdit

After the breakup of his first marriage and the dissolution of his business, Arbus decided to leave photography behind and embark on a new career, acting. His new career took off after he landed the lead role in Robert Downey Sr.'s cult film Greaser's Palace in 1972, in which his character kills the character played by 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.[6] 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.[7] Among Arbus's non-M*A*S*H TV work are guest and recurring roles in such television series as Law & Order, L.A. Law, Matlock, Starsky and Hutch, and Judging Amy.

Personal lifeEdit

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 Irish-American actress Mariclare Costello in 1977. The couple have one daughter, Arin Arbus.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Celebrity Jews, by Nate Bloom, The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, 2005-05-05 article, accessdate 2006-12-13.
  2. Allan Arbus Biography (1918–)
  3. 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. 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. Los Angeles Times article, 2000-12-31, first accessed 2009-09-14.
  4. "Arbus Reconsidered.", by Arthur Lubow, New York Times, September 14, 2003. Retrieved February 7, 2010.
  5. Diane Arbus: Key Facts, by Peter Marshall for About.com, accessed December 22, 2006.
  6. Allan Arbus Filmography at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
  7. "IMDB"

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