Mark Margolis, Actor on ‘Breaking Bad’ & ‘Better Call Saul,’ Dies at 83

Mark Margolis, the journeyman actor who turned in a commanding performance as the vindictive drug runner Hector Salamanca, a man of few words and a bell, on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, has died. He was 83.

Margolis died Thursday at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City following a short illness, his son, actor and Knitting Factory Entertainment CEO Morgan Margolis, announced.

A protégé of Stella Adler who did double duty as the legendary acting teacher’s personal assistant, Margolis also stood out as the Bolivian henchman Alberto the Shadow in Brian De Palma’s Scarface (1983); as the gravelly voiced landlord Mr. Shickadance looking for the rent in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994); and, from 1998-2003, as the HIV-infected mob boss Antonio Nappa on HBO’s Oz.

The Philadelphia native played an aging math teacher for Darren Aronofsky in Pi (1998), then showed up in the filmmaker’s next five movies: as the guy who keeps selling Mrs. Goldfarb’s (Ellen Burstyn) TV back to her in Requiem for a Dream (2000); as a priest in The Fountain (2006); as Randy “The Ram” Robinson’s (Mickey Rourke) landlord in The Wrestler (2008); as a ballet patron in Black Swan (2010); and as a “fallen angel” in Noah (2014).

Asked by The Hollywood Reporter in a 2012 interview why Aronofsky kept hiring him, he replied with tongue in cheek: “He thinks he has an obligation! I started with him on his first movie, the $60,000 Pi, when he was unknown. I chased him for three months because he kept lying to me about when I’d get my money. I finally threatened to call his mother, who was craft services on the film. Then he finally paid me.”

Margolis, who didn’t speak Spanish, made his first appearance as “Tio” Salamanca on Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad in March 2009 on the second episode of the AMC drama’s second season. A onetime enforcer to Mexican crime boss Don Eladio (Steven Bauer), his character is paralyzed and only able to communicate using facial expressions and a brass service bell fastened to his wheelchair.

In the spectacular season-four finale, “Face Off,” which aired in October 2011, Salamanca gets his revenge on drug kingpin Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) as part of a suicide mission, and he received an Emmy nomination for outstanding guest actor in a drama series in 2012. (Hector Salamanca even got his own tribute website.)

(Excerpt) Read more in: The Hollywood Reporter

Mark Margolis, Actor on ‘Breaking Bad’ & ‘Better Call Saul,’ Dies at 83

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