Mark Margolis, Emmy-Nominated Actor from ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Better Call Saul,’ Passes Away at 83

Mark Margolis, actor known for ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Better Call Saul,’ dies at 83

Mark Margolis, a highly regarded actor known for his remarkable performances, including his iconic role as Hector Salamanca, the vengeful drug runner with a bell, in the critically acclaimed series ‘Breaking Bad’ and its prequel ‘Better Call Saul,’ has passed away at the age of 83. The news was announced by his son, Morgan Margolis, who is also an actor and serves as the CEO of Knitting Factory Entertainment.

A protege of the legendary acting teacher Stella Adler, Margolis made a profound impact on the entertainment industry, leaving his mark in various films, including Brian De Palma’s ‘Scarface,’ ‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,’ and six Darren Aronofsky movies. He portrayed the gravelly-voiced landlord in ‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,’ the HIV-infected mob boss in HBO’s ‘Oz,’ and other notable characters, each demonstrating his versatility as an actor.

His collaboration with visionary director Darren Aronofsky began with the film ‘Pi,’ and their creative partnership continued with ‘Requiem for a Dream,’ ‘The Fountain,’ ‘The Wrestler,’ ‘Black Swan,’ and ‘Noah.’ Margolis consistently earned widespread acclaim for his performances, earning him respect and admiration from peers and audiences alike.

One of Margolis’s significant achievements came with his portrayal of Hector Salamanca on Vince Gilligan’s ‘Breaking Bad.’ In March 2009, he made his first appearance as Hector “Tio” Salamanca in the second episode of the AMC drama’s second season. His character, a former enforcer for Mexican crime boss Don Eladio, became paralyzed and could only communicate through facial expressions and the use of a brass service bell attached to his wheelchair. Margolis’s masterful portrayal of the mute character was both chilling and captivating, earning him an Emmy nomination for outstanding guest actor in a drama series in 2012.

In the gripping season-four finale of ‘Breaking Bad,’ titled “Face Off,” which aired in October 2011, Hector Salamanca gets his revenge on the infamous drug kingpin, Gus Fring, played by Giancarlo Esposito, as part of a suicide mission. Such riveting moments solidified his character’s place in television history, and his immense popularity even led to the creation of a tribute website dedicated to Hector Salamanca.

Starting in 2016 with the second season of the ‘Breaking Bad’ prequel ‘Better Call Saul,’ Margolis had the opportunity to revisit his role as a younger Hector Salamanca, before the character’s incapacitation. The opportunity allowed him to expand on the complexities of the character and further showcase his acting prowess.

Mark Margolis’s passion for acting ignited at a young age. At 14, he took his first acting class and later pursued his dreams by moving to New York City to study drama with Stella Adler at The Actors Studio. His connection with Adler went beyond acting, as he also served as her personal assistant for nearly three years, supporting her in various tasks and reveling in her presence. He later studied with Adler’s rival, Lee Strasberg, deepening his understanding of the craft.

Despite his significant success as an actor, Margolis remained grounded and humble, cherishing his fans and their unwavering support. In interviews, he candidly acknowledged the financial struggles that many actors face in the industry, shedding light on the less glamorous aspects of the profession.

Mark Margolis leaves behind a rich and diverse body of work, comprising both film and television performances. His contributions to the entertainment world will be forever cherished, as his talent and dedication have left an indelible mark on the hearts of those who had the pleasure of witnessing his artistry on screen.

He is survived by his wife, Jacqueline, his son, Morgan, and grandsons Ben, Aidan, and Henry. In memory of his life and legacy, contributions can be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a cause he held dear to his heart.

The passing of Mark Margolis marks the end of an illustrious career, leaving behind a legacy of memorable performances that will continue to inspire and captivate audiences for generations to come. As we bid farewell to this extraordinary actor, we celebrate the profound impact he has had on the world of acting and cinema.

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