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Breaking Bad actor Mark Margolis dies at 83

Breaking Bad actor Mark Margolis dies at 83

Veteran actor Mark Margolis, who had a breakout role as a mobster in Scarface and became best known for playing vindictive former drug kingpin Hector Salamanca in TV’s Breaking Bad and then prequel Better Call Saul, has died at age 83.

The actor died on Thursday at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City following a short illness, according to a statement from his son, Morgan Margolis.

Margolis was nominated for an Emmy in 2012 for Breaking Bad, for outstanding guest actor, as Hector, the elderly don of his drug clan who was unable to speak or walk due to a stroke.

Much of his character’s backstory later played out on Better Call Saul, where he guest-starred from 2016 to 2022.

Margolis has said he based his portrayal of the drug kingpin partly on his own experience caring for a relative who had suffered a stroke.

Margolis was hailed on the official X (formerly Twitter) account of Breaking Bad as an “immensely talented” actor “who — with his eyes, a bell, and very few words — turned Hector Salamanca into one of the most unforgettable characters in the history of television”.

Margolis also was known for many film roles, particularly in the films of Darren Aronofsky, including Noah, Black Swan, The Wrestler and Pi.

But his breakout film role was mobster Alberto “The Shadow” in Brian de Palma’s 1983 Scarface, opposite Al Pacino’s Tony Montana, who famously shoots and kills Alberto before the latter can detonate a car bomb and kill an innocent woman and her kids.

Margolis was born in Philadelphia in 1939 and studied acting in New York City with noted teacher Stella Adler.

“I used to say, if God is a woman, this is him,” Margolis said in a 2022 interview about Adler.

Focusing on the stage in his early career, he appeared in dozens of shows off-Broadway, including at the Public Theater in New York, and on Broadway in the short-lived Infidel Caesar, based on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, but set in Cuba.

“The play crashed in about four weeks. It was beautiful but ahead of its time,” he said.

He also founded Blue Dome, a touring theatre troupe.

Margolis is survived by his wife of 61 years, Jacqueline, and his son Morgan. The family plans to have a private memorial and funeral.


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