Actor. He is best remembered for his role as psychiatrist Dr. Sidney Freedman on the television series M*A*S*H. Born Allan Franklin Arbus to Jewish parents in New York City, New York, his father was a stockbroker. He developed an interest in acting when he won a part in a play at DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, New York City. He enlisted in the US Army during World War II and became a photographer. After his discharge from the Army, he and his first wife Diane Arbus, who was also a photographer, opened a photographic advertising business in Manhattan, New York City, in 1946. His advertisements appeared in such weekly magazines like “Glamour,” “Seventeen,” “Vogue,” “Harper’s Bazaar,” as well as the weekly newspaper that advertised photography for Russek’s, a Fifth Avenue department store owned by his wife’s father. In 1956 his wife quit the business and they separated three years later. He continued the business on his own but gave it up in 1969 after their divorce was final and he decided to pursue an acting career. In 1972 he obtained the lead role in Robert Downey Sr.’s cult film “Greaser’s Palace,” in which his character kills the character played by Robert Downey, Jr. He appeared in “Cinderella Liberty” (1973), “Coffy” (1973), and “Damien: Omen II’ (1978). He would also star with Bette Davis in “Scream, Pretty Peggy” (1973) and was featured as the character Gregory LaCava in “W.C. Fields and Me” (1976), all of which eventually led to his memorable role on M*A*S*H. His work on M*A*S*H would establish his career as a character actor and he appeared in over 70 television shows and movies. His other television work includes “Starsky and Hutch,” “Law and Order,” “L.A. Law,” “Matlock,” and “Judging Amy.” He died of heart failure in Los Angeles, California at the age of 95.
- February, 15, 1918
- New York, New York
- April, 19, 2013
- Los Angeles County, California