Arbus was born on February 15, 1918 in New York City, New York to a Jewish family. He studied at DeWitt Clinton High School. Arbus was married to Diane Arbus from 1941 until they divorced in 1969. They had two children. Then he was married to Mariclare Costello from 1977 until his death in 2013. They had two children. Arbus died on April 19, 2013 from heart failure in his home in Los Angeles, California, aged 95.
- Bloom, Nate (2005-05-05). "Celebrity Jews". The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California. Retrieved 2006-12-13.
- Slotnik, Daniel (April 23, 2013). "Allan Arbus, 'M*A*S*H*' Psychiatrist With Zingers dies at 95". The New York Times. Retrieved April 24, 2013.