Mark Margolis, Breaking Bad Star, Dead At 83

By Douglas Helm | Updated

Mark Margolis as Hector Salamanca in Breaking Bad

Mark Margolis, the journeyman actor best known for his roles in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, has passed away (via The Hollywood Reporter). Margolis passed away at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City due to illness and is survived by his wife, Jacqueline, whom he married in June 1962; his son Morgan and his wife Heide, his grandsons Ben, Aidan, and Henry; and his brother and his wife, Jerome and Ann. Margolis was aged 83.

Mark Margolis, known for his role as Hector Salamanca in Breaking Bad, passed away at 83 following a brief illness.

Mark Margolis began acting at the age of 14 at Temple University before moving to New York and studying at The Actors Studio with legendary acting teacher Stella Adler. Margolis would also serve as Adler’s personal assistant in addition to being her student. He would later study with Adler’s rival, Lee Strasburg.

Mark Margolis would make his on-screen debut in the X-Rated film The Opening of Misty Beethoven in 1976 before nabbing some small roles in films like Dressed to Kill and Arthur. He would get his biggest role to date in 1984 when he appeared in Brian de Palma’s Scarface as the Bolivian henchman Alberto the Shadow. In 1994 he would play the landlord Mr. Shickadance in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and he played the mob boss Antonia Nappa in HBO‘s Oz from 1998 to 2003.

Mark Margolis as Dr. Nel Apgar (right) in Star Trek: The Next Generation

Eagle-eyed Star Trek fans may also remember when Mark Margolis appeared as Dr. Nel Apgar in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Margolis’s significant guest role drove the plot of the Season 3 episode “A Matter of Perspective.” Margolis’ son, Morgan, also appeared as a guest star in episodes of Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise.

Margolis would get an Oustanding Guest Actor Emmy nomination for his performance in the fourth season’s finale episode of Breaking Bad, “Face-Off.”

Director Darren Aronofsky would also make good use of Mark Margolis’ talents by casting him in six different films. He appeared as a math teacher in Pi, the man who sells Mrs. Goldfarb back her TV over and over again in Requiem for a Dream, a priest in The Fountain, a landlord in The Wrestler, a ballet patron in Black Swan, and a fallen angel in Noah.

Margolis joked about why Aronofsky would hire him in an interview, saying, “He thinks he has an obligation,” adding, “I started with him on his first movie, the $60,000 Pi, when he was unknown,” and, “I chased him for three months because he kept lying to me about when I’d get my money.”

Margolis in Breaking Bad

Mark Margolis would get his biggest and most popular role to date when he was cast as Hector “Tio” Salamanca in the second season of Breaking Bad. Hector was a former Don and enforcer for the Mexican drug kingpin Don Eladio.

Despite his character being unable to speak and only able to communicate with his face and his trusty bell, Margolis would get an Oustanding Guest Actor Emmy nomination for his performance in the fourth season’s finale episode “Face-Off.”

Vince Gilligan would bring Mark Margolis back for the prequel series Better Call Saul, which let Margolis play Hector before he was unable to speak and in a wheelchair. Impressively, Margolis didn’t speak Spanish before playing Hector Salamanca, so he had to add that to his skillset as well to take on the role.

Make sure to revisit Margolis’s fantastic performances in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, as well as some of his other roles in shows like CalifornicationPerson of InterestAmerican Horror Story, and The Affair.

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