“M*A*S*H” actor Allan Arbus, who played psychiatrist Sidney Freedman on the show, has died. He was 95.
Arbus was a film actor who appeared in “Coffy” and “Damien: Omen II”, but he was best known for his work on television. Throughout the ’70s, he appeared on many of the most popular shows, including “Mod Squad”, “The Odd Couple”, and “Hawaii 5-0”. But it was his portrayal of Major Sidney Freedman on “M*A*S*H” which won him favor with audiences. It would become his most famous role.
“I was so convinced that he was a psychiatrist I used to sit and talk with him between scenes,” co-star Alan Alda said. “After a couple months of that I noticed he was giving me these strange looks, like ‘How would I know the answer to that?’ ”
Before his acting career took off, Arbus worked with his wife, Diane, as a photographer. He also snapped photos for the Army during WWII, but he would make a name for himself later with Diane when they discovered a gift for fashion photography. The couple made huge names for themselves in the fashion world, shooting for Vogue and Glamour before Diane decided to take her own creative path.
Diane and Allan divorced in 1969, and she took her own life in 1971. Many who knew Allan believed such a tragic loss helped him put a believable spin on his “M*A*S*H” character.
“He brought a depth … to what he faced as a psychiatrist on the show,” said Alan Alda. “It helped the audience and … actors believe some of the stresses our characters were under.”