Watch CBS News

Mark Margolis, "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul" actor, dies at age 83

"Breaking Bad" actor Mark Margolis dies at 83
"Breaking Bad" actor Mark Margolis dies at 83 00:25

Mark Margolis, the Emmy-nominated actor who played a drug kingpin on the acclaimed TV series "Breaking Bad" and its prequel "Better Call Saul," has died, his son and his rep confirmed to CBS News on Friday. He was 83.

Margolis died Thursday at a New York City hospital after a short illness, his son Morgan Margolis said in a statement. Morgan Margolis and the actor's wife of 61 years, Jacqueline Margolis, were by his side when he died at Mount Sinai Hospital, according to the statement.

Margolis' manager since 2007, Robert Kolker, called the actor a "lifelong friend."

"He was one of a kind," Kolker said in a statement. "We won't see his likes again ... I was lucky to know him."

In "Breaking Bad," Margolis received an Emmy nomination in 2012 for playing the fearsome cartel chief Hector "Tio" Salamanca, who used a bell to communicate because he couldn't speak following a stroke. The character also used a wheelchair, and Margolis said some of the mannerisms in his performance were drawn from his mother-in-law, who had a stroke.

After "Breaking Bad" ended, he reprised the role in 2016 in "Better Call Saul" for several seasons as a guest star.

Mark Margolis in "Better Call Saul"
Mark Margolis in "Better Call Saul" Michele K. Short

"Breaking Bad" mourned Margolis' death on social media.

"We join millions of fans in mourning the passing of 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," the show said on Facebook. "He will be missed."

Margolis' breakout role was in 1983's "Scarface," where he played the hitman Alberto "The Shadow."

He went on to play a variety of menacing characters in his lengthy career, ranging from the landlord for Jim Carrey's titular character in 1994's "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" to a guest appearance as a mobster in the CBS show "Person of Interest" in the early 2010s.

Actor Mark Margolis attends the "Noah" premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre on March 26, 2014, in New York City.
Actor Mark Margolis attends the "Noah" premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre on March 26, 2014, in New York City. Mike Pont/FilmMagic
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.