Breaking Bad Actor Mark Margolis Dead at 83

Mark Margolis, who played drug kingpin Hector Salamanca on Breaking Bad and prequel series Better Call Saul, has passed away.

By Corinne Heller Aug 04, 2023 6:10 PMTags
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Ring a bell in honor of this fan-favorite Breaking Bad star.

Mark Margolis, who played drug kingpin Hector Salamanca on the AMC drama series and its prequel show Better Call Saul, has died. He was 83.

The actor passed away Aug. 4 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City following a short illness, his son Morgan Margolis confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter.

Throughout his tenure on Breaking Bad, Margolis made an impact as a menacing figure without uttering a word as his character becomes immobile and non-verbal following a stroke and later communicates by ringing a bell attached to his wheelchair. In fact, his performance on the show earned him a 2012 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series and inspired costumes—which even lead actor Bryan Cranston was quick to get in on.

"Bryan is a wonderful funny man," Margolis told Time magazine in 2013. They showed up at party with Aaron [Paul] in a costume and Bryan in a wheelchair with white cotton balls attached to his head impersonating me."

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And he relished the opportunity to play the unique role of Hector. "The fact that he didn't have any words was not an issue for me," he explained. "I was delighted not to have to learn any lines. I mean, I had to know what was going on, I had to my cues, but the fact that I didn't have to master lines was great. I got to fly out to New Mexico and not worry about memorizing anything."

Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

In addition to Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, Margolis was also known for roles on the '80s spy thriller series The Equalizer, the '90s soap opera Santa Barbara and the HBO prison series Oz as well as six films with director Darren Aronofsky.

Cassidy Sparrow/Getty Images for Rand Luxury

In recent years, he also appeared on episodes of American Horror Story: Asylum, The Affair and Snowpiercer and reunited with Cranston for the Showtime legal series Your Honor.

Margolis is also survived by his wife of 61 years Jacqueline Margolis, a brother and three grandsons.

Cranston paid tribute to Margolis on his Instagram after news of his death was made public. "I am very saddened today to learn of a friend's passing," he wrote. "Mark Margolis was a really good actor and a lovely human being. Fun and engaging off the set, and (in the case of Breaking Bad and Your Honor) intimidating and frightening on set."

He continued, "His quiet energy belied his mischievous nature and curious mind… And he loved sharing a good joke. I miss him already. Rest now, Mark and thank you for your friendship and your exceptional body of work."

Tony Dalton, who played Hector's nephew Lalo Salamanca on Better Call Saul, also shared a tribute to Margolis.

"Dear Mark you will be missed," he wrote on his Instagram Stories. "It was a pleasure knowing you. Rest in peace my friend."

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