Mark Margolis, the American actor most widely recognized for his roles as former drug lord Hector Salamanca inside Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, has died. He was 83.
Margolis died after a brief illness at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, according to his publicist. His wife, Jacqueline, as well as son, Morgan, were at his side.
Margolis, who once characterized himself as a “journeyman actor,” appeared in over 60 films throughout a five-decade career, spanning Scarface, The Wrestler, and Ace Ventura.
Margolis was nominated for an Emmy in 2012 for his role as Hector “Tio” Salamanca in “Breaking Bad.” Tio, a fan favorite, was a former cartel member who spoke with the use of a brass bell affixed to his wheelchair.
He subsequently played Tio as a younger guy before he was in a wheelchair in the prequel series “Better Call Saul.” Salamanca was one of the franchise’s most famous and scary villains: a wheelchair-bound drug kingpin who couldn’t talk due to a stroke but communicated by ringing a bell.
“I studied the script and thought to myself, ‘Oh my, I don’t have to learn any lines,'” Margolis said on the Better Call Saul Insider Podcast a year ago. “I simply have to travel out to New Mexico, soak myself in the scenery, and ponder.” It appeared to me to be nirvana.”
Public’s Response To His Passing
“He was one of a kind,” said Margolis’ manager, Robert Kolker, in a statement. His likes will never be seen again. He was a valued client and long-term friend. I was privileged to have known him.”
On Twitter, Peter Gould, co-creator as well as showrunner of “Better Call Saul,” paid homage to Margolis, saying, “Absolutely devastated to hear that we’ve lost Mark Margolis.” Mark was a raconteur with plenty of stories who was bright and amusing. I’m already missing him.”
“Incredibly sad news,” commented Thomas Schnauz, a writer and director on “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul,” on Twitter. Mark made me giggle every time we were on set together.
I was fortunate to have his character Tío walk and talk, as well as teach his nephews a lesson, in my very initial [episode] of ‘Breaking Bad.’ My heartfelt condolences to his family as well as many, many of his friends.”
“We join billions of fans in grieving the passing of the tremendously talented Mark Margolis, who – with his eyes, a bell, and a few sentences – transformed Hector Salamanca into one of the greatest iconic characters in television history.” He will be sorely missed.”
Mark Margolis’ Work
Margolis, who was born in Philadelphia in 1939, traveled to New York at an early age to pursue her acting career. With an early interest in theatre, he won parts on Broadway in musicals such as “Infidel Caesar.” He went on to appear in over 50 Off-Broadway productions, including “Uncle Sam” and “The Golem.”
Margolis made his cinematic debut in Brian De Palma’s mafia classic “Scarface,” as the villain as well as bodyguard Alberto, called The Shadow. Margolis, a longstanding Aronofsky collaborator, also featured in “Noah,” “The Wrestler,” and “Black Swan,” “Pi.” He has almost 70 film credits for around five decades.
Margolis has recurrent parts in television shows such as “The Equaliser,” “Oz,” “American Horror Story: Asylum,” and “Kings,” as well as guest appearances on “Californication,” “Crossing Jordan,” “Gotham,” and “The Affair” adding to “Better Call Saul” and “Breaking Bad”.
His final TV appearance was on Showtime’s Your Honour, when he played Carmine Conti, reconciling him with Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston.
Margolis had a good cinematic career as well.
He is most recognized for his role as Alberto the Shadow in Scarface, although he has also acted in films such as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Requiem for a Dream, The Thomas Crown Affair, and Black Swan.