Character actor Mark Margolis died at the age of 83 on Thursday at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City after a short illness. You might know Margolis for his fearsome portrayal of Hector Salamanca, a wheelchair-bound former drug kingpin in ‘Breaking Bad’. But many might not know that he graced several iconic films including Al Pacino starrer ‘Scarface’.
‘Breaking Bad’ star Bryan Cranston who played Walter White wrote 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, who played Saul Goodman in ‘Better Call Saul’, recalled Margolis’s “powerful screen presence” while paying tribute.
Margolis was nominated for an Emmy in 2012 for outstanding guest actor in ‘Breaking Bad’. His acting skills are well evident as he did not have any dialogue in the series (other than flashbacks in the spinoff ‘Better Call Saul’) and communicated via facial expressions and the barhop bell on his wheelchair.
In a 2013 Time interview, he told the magazine that he enjoyed acting without speaking and took it as a challenge.
“It was a marvellous creature! The fact that he didn’t have any words was not an issue for me. I was delighted not to have to learn any lines. I mean, I had to know what was going on, I had 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 memorising anything,” he said back then.
Margolis’s movie career
Though he started his acting career in the ’70s, his breakout role was that of mobster Alberto “The Shadow” in Brian de Palma’s 1983 film ‘Scarface’. He has acted in six movies by director Darren Aronofsky including ‘Requiem for a Dream’, ‘The Fountain’, ‘Noah’, Black Swan’, ‘The Wrestler’ and ‘Pi’.
He has 70 films or shows to his credit including ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’, ‘Gone Baby Gone’, ‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective’ and ‘Stand Up Guys’, according to IMDb. His most recent film was Matthew Coppola’s 2022 film ‘Broken Soldier’ with Sophie Turner.