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M.A.S.H. actor dies: Alan Arbus played psychiatrist (+video)

M.A.S.H, actor dies: Alan Arbus was best known for his M.A.S.H character, Dr. Sidney Freedman, the 4077th  psychiatrist.

By StaffAssociated Press / April 25, 2013


Los Angeles

Allan Arbus, who played the wise — and wisecracking — psychiatrist Dr. Sidney Freedman on TV's "M.A.S.H.," has died at age 95.

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Arbus' daughter Arin told the Los Angeles Times Tuesday that her father died of congestive heart failure at his Los Angeles home Friday.

Arbus didn't begin acting until his 40s. He was a television regular who appeared on several series but was best known as Freedman, who counseled shell-shocked army surgeons on a dozen episodes of "M.A.S.H." between 1973 and 1983.

As the M.A.S.H psychiatrist, fellow actor Alan Alda told The Los Angeles Times that 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," the actor said. "It helped the audience and … actors believe some of the stresses our characters were under."

Arbus also made films, including two directed by Robert Downey Sr., "Putney Swope" in 1969 and "Greaser's Palace" in 1972. In the 1970s and 1980s, he appeared regularly on several TV series.

Before turning to Hollywood, the New York-born Arbus had a successful career as a fashion photographer.

After World War II, he started a studio with then-wife Diane Arbus. She would go on to become one of the most renowned art photographers of the 20th century.

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