‘Breaking Bad’ actor Mark Margolis passes away at 83

In Breaking Bad, Margolis's character — the patriarch of the drug-smuggling Salamanca family, Hector Salamanca — is only able to communicate by tapping a bell with his finger

Updated - August 05, 2023 11:00 am IST

Published - August 05, 2023 07:13 am IST - Los Angeles

Mark Margolis died on August 3 at a New York hospital following a short illness. File

Mark Margolis died on August 3 at a New York hospital following a short illness. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

Mark Margolis, who played the sinister, wheelchair-bound cartel don Hector Salamanca in acclaimed TV shows Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, has died aged 83, his family said Friday.

Margolis died Thursday at a New York hospital following a short illness, with his wife and son at his bedside, according to a statement.

Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston led the tributes, writing on Instagram: "I am very saddened today to learn of a friend's passing.

"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."

Bob Odenkirk, the star of spin-off series Better Call Saul, called Margolis a "powerful screen presence."

An official Breaking Bad social media account praised "the immensely talented Mark Margolis, who — with his eyes, a bell, and very few words — turned Hector Salamanca into one of the most unforgettable characters in the history of television."

In the show, Margolis's character — the patriarch of the drug-smuggling Salamanca family, who suffers a stroke after being poisoned by a rival — is only able to communicate by tapping a bell with his finger.

Born in Philadelphia in 1939, Margolis moved to New York to pursue acting.

He forged a successful career as a character actor, with supporting roles in films such as Scarface, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Black Swan, as well as HBO series Oz.

In 2012, he was nominated for an Emmy for Breaking Bad.

He is survived by Jacqueline, his wife of 61 years, as well as their only child Morgan and their three grandsons.

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