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

Flowers on a casket. (Unsplash)

Mark Margolis, an Emmy-nominated actor best known for his role as Hector Salamanca on the hit television shows “Breaking Bad” and its prequel “Better Call Saul,” died Thursday night at the age of 83, his family confirmed.

The actor died at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City after a short unspecified illness, his son, Morgan Margolis, said in a statement.

Born in Philadelphia in 1939, Margolis studied acting with famed teacher Stella Adler in New York City and focused his early career on the New York stage, appearing in several off-Broadway productions — including at Manhattan’s prestigious Public Theater.

Margolis was also part of the main cast of the 1962 Broadway show “Infidel Caesar,” a modern-day take on Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” set in Cuba. However, the show closed after its first preview, according to the Internet Broadway Database.

Margolis went on to have a prolific career on the big screen that spanned five decades and included roles in films such as 1983′s “Scarface,” 2001′s “Hannibal,” and 2010′s “Black Swan.”

He also had recurring roles in several hit TV shows such as HBO’s groundbreaking prison drama “Oz” and “American Horror Story: Asylum,” the second season of the Ryan Murphy anthology series.

But Margolis will perhaps be best remembered for his portrayal of former drug lord Hector Salamanca on AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” in which he appeared from 2009 to 2011. The role of the menacing “Tio” Salamanca, a fan-favorite villain who was unable to speak due to a stroke, gave Margolis an Emmy nomination for Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2012.

He later portrayed a younger Salamanca during five seasons of “Better Call Saul,” the Emmy-winning prequel to “Breaking Bad.”

Thomas Schnauz, a producer and writer for both shows, took to social media Friday to comment on the “incredibly sad news” and to pay tribute to the actor.

“Mark made me laugh every time we were together on set,” Schnauz wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “I was lucky to have his character Tio walk and talk and teach his nephews a lesson in my very first ep of ‘Breaking Bad.’ My love to his family and many, many friends.”

Margolis is survived by his wife of 61 years, Jacqueline Margolis, and his son Morgan.

With News Wire Services

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