Before taking up acting, Arbus and first wife Diane were successful fashion photographers
Allan Arbus, best known for his dozen appearances as the sarcastic psychiatrist Maj. Sidney Freedman on the ’70s series M*A*S*H, died Friday at his Los Angeles home, his daughter, photographer Amy Arbus, told The New York Times. He was 95.
In addition to numerous roles on TV and in movies, from Matlock and Curb Your Enthusiasm (in 2000) to Cinderella Liberty and Damien: Omen II, the New York City native, during his military service in the army, had been a photographer – as was, notably, his wife, Diane Arbus.
The two met when Allan was an employee in the advertising department of her parents’ Fifth Avenue department store, then married in 1941 and formed a professional partnership.
Despite her parents’ wealth, however, “she and Allan never received any financial help from her father, and throughout their marriage – particularly in the early years – they were always worried about money,” author Patricia Bosworth wrote in her 1984 Diane Arbus: A Biography.
The Arbuses dissolved their business partnership in 1956, when Diane quit. They separated in 1959, and officially divorced a decade later, yet were said to have remained friends. And while Diane, who began her career as a fashion photographer, committed suicide in 1971, at age 48, her iconic photos of those on life’s periphery continue to be shown in museums.
She was also portrayed by Nicole Kidman in the heavily fictionalized 2006 movie Fur, in which Ty Burrell (the current Modern Family star) played Allan Arbus.
According to The Times, Allan Arbus married the actress Mariclare Costello in 1976. She survives him, as do Amy and another daughter with Diane Arbus, the writer Doon Arbus, along with another daughter (with Mariclare), Arin Arbus.