Actor Morgan Margolis Dead at 83

Mark Margolis, a lifelong actor with hundreds of roles in film, television, and stage stemming back to the 1970s, best-known for his break-out role of Alberto “The Shadow” in Scarface and recently as the character Hector “Tio” Salamanca in the TV series Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, has passed away at age 83, his son Knitting Factory Entertainment CEO Morgan Margolis reported.

Margolis passed away August 3, 2023 at Mt. Sinai Hospital in his beloved and longtime home of New York City, with his wife Jacqueline and Morgan at his bedside, following a short illness.

Margolis was born in Philadelphia, PA on November 26, 1939, son of Fanya (née Fried) and Isidore Margolis.

Margolis briefly attended Temple University before moving to New York City to study acting, first under Stella Adler at the Actors Studio and subsequently with Lee Strasberg and Barbara Loden.

He is survived by his wife, Jacqueline Margolis (83) of Far Rockway, New York—wed in New York City, they were married for 61 years—and only child Morgan Margolis (56), his wife Heide Margolis, and their three sons Ben, Aidan, and Henry Margolis, all of Los Angeles, CA. He is also survived by his brother and his wife, Jerome and Ann Margolis.

The family plans to have a private memorial and funeral.

Robert Kolker of Red Letter Entertainment, his manager since 2007, said, “He was one of a kind. We won’t see his likes again. He was a treasured client and a lifelong friend. I was lucky to know him.”

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Margolis’ biography is attached:

A pervasive presence in television, film, and on stage, Emmy-nominated actor Mark Margolis was best known for playing Hector “Tio” Salamanca, a former drug kingpin who is unable to speak or walk due to the lingering effects of a stroke that originally appearing on AMC’s hit Breaking Bad and for which he was nominated for a 2012 Emmy award. In 2016, he reprised that role as a younger version of the character, guest starring until 2022 in seasons 2 through 6 of AMC’s multiple Emmy and Golden Globes nominee Better Call Saul.

Born in November 1939 in Philadelphia, Margolis moved to New York City at a young age to pursue a career in acting. Under the wing of famed acting teacher Stella Adler, who Margolis saw as a “larger than life” influence on his work, he launched his career with an early focus on theater, where he earned major roles in large-scale productions including Infidel Caesar, a Broadway show based on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Shortly thereafter, Margolis founded Blue Dome, a touring theater company that performed avant-garde productions, including Antonin Artaud’s The Conquest of Mexico, at colleges and universities across the United States, largely funded by the New York State Council on the Arts.

Margolis then returned to theater in New York and appeared in more than fifty Off-Broadway plays, including Uncle Sam and The Golem. While he later became more focused on film and television, he “did plays when he could not live without them,” which led him to the 2010 role of Bernie Madoff in an upstate New York production entitled Imagining Madoff. He also performed in Tony Kushner’s The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to The Scriptures at the Berkeley Repertory Theater in 2014 and in A Bright Room Called Day at The Public Theater in New York in 2019.

Margolis had many recurring roles on television in addition to Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad, including The Equalizer, Oz, Kings, and FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum, as well as guest appearances on a number of popular shows, including Crossing Jordan, Californication, Person of Interest, Fox’s Gotham, and Showtime’s The Affair. Margolis was most recently seen on Season 2 of the Showtime series Your Honor, playing the Mafia Kingpin Carmine Conti.

Margolis had an equally illustrious film career that spanned over forty years and included more than seventy films, many of which were critically acclaimed. He is most known for playing Alberto “The Shadow” in Scarface and for appearances in many of Darren Aronofsky’s films, including Noah, Black Swan, The Wrestler, and Pi, which is one that Margolis considered a favorite. He appeared in John McTiernan’s The Thomas Crown Affair, opposite Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo; Ben Affleck’s Gone Baby Gone, opposite Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris; Fisher Stevens’ Stand Up Guys, opposite Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin; Dan Glaser’s Valley Of Bones, opposite Autumn Reeser; Tony Vidal’s Baja, opposite Cynthia Stevenson; and Fernando Grostein Andrade’s ABE, opposite Noah Schanpp and Seu Jorge. Margolis was most recently seen in Matthew Coppola’s Broken Soldier, opposite Sophie Turner, Ray Liotta, and Ivana Milicevic.

In addition to the Emmy nod, he was also nominated for Saturn, Gold Derby, and Online Film & Television Association Awards, all for his work on Breaking Bad. He credited his ability to play the critically praised Tio Salamanca, in part, to a family member who he observed and cared for following a paralyzing stroke, a fate similar to that which Tio suffered.


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