The actor who portrayed a powerful drug leader in the well-loved TV series “Breaking Bad” and its spin off “Better Call Saul” has passed away at the age of 83. This sad news was confirmed by his son and representative to CBS News on Friday. The actor, known as Mark Margolis, breathed his last on Thursday after a short illness at a hospital in New York City. His son, Morgan Margolis, shared that Mark’s wife of 61 years, Jacqueline Margolis, was by his side during his final moments at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Robert Kolker, who had been managing Mark Margolis’ career since 2007, expressed heartfelt sentiments, describing Mark as not only a talent but also a “lifelong friend.” Kolker remembered Mark as a unique individual, stating, “He was truly one of a kind, and we won’t have the opportunity to encounter someone like him again. I consider myself fortunate to have known him.”
Mark Margolis garnered widespread recognition for his portrayal of the formidable Hector “Tio” Salamanca, a head of a drug cartel, in the acclaimed TV series “Breaking Bad.” He earned an Emmy nomination in 2012 for this memorable performance. Hector “Tio” Salamanca communicated through a bell due to his inability to speak after suffering a stroke, and the character was known for using a wheelchair. Margolis disclosed that he drew inspiration from his mother-in-law, who had also experienced a stroke, while crafting some of the character’s distinct behaviors.
Mark Margolis continued to bring depth to the character of Hector “Tio” Salamanca in the prequel series “Better Call Saul,” enriching the character’s background story. His breakthrough role came in the iconic film “Scarface,” directed by Brian De Palma, where he portrayed the antagonist and bodyguard Alberto, also known as The Shadow. Collaborating frequently with filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, Margolis appeared in notable films like “Noah,” “Black Swan,” “The Wrestler,” and “Pi,” amassing an impressive filmography spanning over five decades.
Apart from his remarkable contributions to “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul,” Margolis made notable appearances in various TV series. He held recurring roles in shows such as “The Equalizer,” “Oz,” “Kings,” and “American Horror Story: Asylum.”
Born in 1939 in Philadelphia, Mark Margolis followed his passion for acting to New York at a young age. With a strong interest in theater, he secured roles in Broadway productions like “Infidel Caesar.” His acting journey encompassed more than 50 Off-Broadway performances, including roles in plays like “Uncle Sam” and “The Golem.”
In remembrance of Mark Margolis, the official “Breaking Bad” Facebook page paid tribute to the
actor’s iconic portrayal of Hector Salamanca. The post acknowledged Mark’s skill in bringing the
character to life, describing him as someone who left an indelible mark on the history of television. The post read, “We, along with millions of fans, mourn the loss of the immensely talented Mark Margolis. With minimal words, a bell, and his expressive eyes, he transformed Hector Salamanca into an unforgettable television character. His absence will be deeply felt.