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'M*A*S*H' actor Allan Arbus dies at age 95

Cast members of "M*A*S*H*" (L-R) Allan Arbus, Loretta Swit, Mike Farrell, Burt Metcalfe and Alan Alda accept the Impact award at the taping
Cast members of "M*A*S*H*" (L-R) Allan Arbus, Loretta Swit, Mike Farrell, Burt Metcalfe and Alan Alda accept the Impact award at the taping

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. actor Allan Arbus, best known for his role as Army psychiatrist Sidney Freedman on the 1970s hit television series "M*A*S*H" and as the husband of the late photographer Diane Arbus, has died at the age of 95.

Arbus, who gave up his photography for acting, passed away from congestive heart failure at his home in Los Angeles on Friday, his second wife Mariclare Costello Arbus told Reuters.

"At 95, doctors didn't want to do surgery and Allan didn't want it at all," said Costello Arbus, an actress who married Arbus in 1976.

"He just slowed down," she said. "He just got weaker and weaker and was at home with his daughter and me."

Arbus' first major acting role came as Christ-like figure Jesse in director Robert Downey Sr.'s 1972 cult film "Greaser's Palace," which also starred the director's young son, Robert Downey Jr.

He shot to prominence the role of the acerbic psychiatrist Sidney Freedman on "M*A*S*H" in 1973, a year after the Korean War comedy-drama began.

Arbus' final credited television role was in an episode of comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm" in 2000, according to Hollywood database IMDB.com.

Arbus was born in 1918 in New York and began his career as a photographer in the 1940s and served as an U.S. Army photographer during World War II.

In 1941, he married Diane Nemerov - who later earned artistic acclaim for her photos of marginalized people. The couple started a photography studio together which shot photos for magazines Vogue and Glamour, among others.

The couple separated in 1959 and divorced a decade later. Diane Arbus committed suicide in 1971.

Arbus is survived by his three children; Amy Arbus and Doon Arbus from his first marriage and Arin Arbus from his second.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey, editing by Jill Serjeant and Marguerita Choy)

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